Featured initiative:

Nicaragua Solar Lighting Micro Credit Project

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The Challenge:

Over 1.7 million people in Nicaragua, located mostly in rural areas, are not connected to grid electricity. This makes refrigerating food, pumping water or completing school work after dark impossible. Most of these people are dependent on kerosene lamps, candles, and battery-powered flashlights for lighting.  These provide poor light quality, pose environmental and health risks and are costly. It costs up to $11 CAD each month for an average family using kerosene. This is a heavy financial burden considering people in this rural area live on less than $2.30 per day.

Our Solution:

NicaFrank-76Energy for All is partnering with local communities El Cua  and San Jose de Bocay and the non-profits Association of Rural Development Workers – Benjamin Linder (ATDER-BL), Green Empowerment and The Butterfly Effect Microcredit Foundation to support the implementation of a solar lighting micro credit project with the community. ATDER-BL, a Nicaraguan-based organisation, has implemented dozens of small hydroelectric, watershed conservation, and potable water projects across Northern Nicaragua to improve the socioeconomic and environmental well-being of rural Nicaraguans.

In 2015, Energy For All travelled to Nicaragua with a team of volunteers. Some volunteers include members of our Calgary partner Integrated Sustainability. During that visit, our team worked alongside the other organisations and local citizens to install solar systems.

In the community of El Cua, Energy For All is backing a loan for 1000 solar lighting systems for residential homes and schools.  This project is ongoing.

What is micro credit?

A micro credit project, also referred to as a revolving loan, provides a loan for people in the communities to purchase solar lighting systems for their homes. The project continues to fund new installations as money gets re-payed.

Starting in 2015, Green Empowerment oversaw the initial phase of the project. They provided interest-free credit and a 25-50% cost subsidy to families to aid them in purchasing a 50 or 100 watt solar system. They also assisted in the training of local technicians for installation and maintenance of the systems.

Materials

Suni Solar is a Nicaragua-based company with over 15 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector. The Suni Solar team is responsible for securing equipment, designing systems and installing them. They have a local branch in El Cua and network of local technicians (over seven in the installation region) who, with our support, will participate in the installation of the system.

Major project materials include:

  • 50/100 watt solar panel
  • LED lights
  • Inverter
  • 12 volt sealed lead acid battery

A typical household solar system in this community costs roughly $650 CAD before installation.

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Members of our team on site in Nicaragua

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How to Get Involved:

Energy For All welcomes involvement on multiple levels that include funding, project participation, and helping to generate local awareness.

Please contact Roselyn Himann at roselyn@energyforall.ca or 403.630.1395 for more information.