Why Solar?

Kagera Solar Enterprise - Why Solar?

Did you know that:

  • About 90% of Africans have no electricity?
  • The poor in Africa burn $6m in kerosene each year?
  • A typical household in the Kagera spends $2 - $3 per week on kerosene, out of a weekly income of only about $7?
  • There are many incidents of burns and even deaths from fires caused by kerosene lamps?

Compared to traditional lighting in villages, solar lighting is:

  • Safer – there’s no risk of fire (and no electrical shock as the voltage is low), hence it reduces injuries and deaths from fuel fires.
  • Healthier – no smoke, no fuel spilled on skin etc, thus avoiding longer-term health problems.
  • Cheaper – typically a solar kit will ‘pay for itself’ after several months (compared to the cost of fuel for similar lighting) and after that there are no running costs. An added bonus for many is being able to charge their mobile phone for free and/or not having to buy batteries for their radio. It also avoids medical costs resulting from burns, and rebuilding costs following a house fire.
  • Brighter – modern LED lamps are much brighter than traditional lighting in villages.
  • Better for the environment – by reducing CO2 emissions from burning fuel, and avoiding bush fires from accidents with fuel used for lighting.
  • And increases income generation opportunities – by charging mobile phones for others, and by enabling work during the evenings.

Solar powered lighting is a brilliant solution to these problems. In recent years it has become affordable, reliable and efficient – especially since the introduction of LED lamps. We sell a range of solar kits throughout the Kagera region (see Solar Products), which will eventually benefit thousands of people, as well as generating a small income for the diocese. These kits are:

  • Saving people money on fuel, charging mobile phones and buying radio batteries.
  • Improving their health,
  • Helping them to study in the evenings,
  • Providing additional income, by charging other peoples’ mobile phones.

Over the next few years, this exciting project will be of great benefit to thousands of people throughout this remote rural area – one of the poorest in the world. Most of the people here are subsistence farmers, who live in mud huts without electricity.

The solar lighting is helping people to function at home in the evenings, particularly helping school kids and adults to study and thus build a better life for themselves. Solar lighting is much safer than the open fires, candles, kerosene – and even diesel – currently used for lighting. Many people have suffered burns, lost their houses and even died from fires resulting from using fuel for lighting. The worst recent example in Tanzania was several students losing their lives when a dormitory burned down in a girls secondary school.

Solar lighting is not only safer and cheaper in the long run – it’s also better for reading and it reduces carbon emissions. Modern LED lamps provide much brighter light than traditional lighting in villages.

The kits will help these impoverished people financially as well, by reducing costs (solar is cheaper than kerosene), and by generating income through charging other peoples' mobile phones.

Over US$10 billion is spent each year on kerosene for lighting in the homes of the poor in developing countries (see Lighting Africa and the Lumina Project). The poor burn US$17 billion of kerosene each year in lanterns to light their homes. The light cast from a kerosene lamp is poorly distributed, has a low intensity and is expensive. The poor lighting levels from kerosene lamps makes it difficult for children to study, affecting literacy and education, and minimizes the effective working hours for income generating activities. The open flame, smoke and soot from kerosene lamps endanger lives by reducing indoor air quality and increasing the likelihood of fire.

The negative impacts of energy poverty are sobering.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) report that there are over 300,000 deaths every year from burns, the vast majority of these occur in low and middle income countries.
  • Nearly 4 million women suffer from severe burns from open fires and kerosene lighting each year: similar to the number who are diagnosed with AIDS each year.
  • More children die from fire related injuries than fatalities from tuberculosis or malaria.

Burns are, however, only part of the debilitating impact of energy poverty.

  • The poor, mostly women and children, consume the equivalent of two packs of cigarettes per day of smoke from indoor air pollution, resulting in chronic respiratory and eye diseases.
  • The United Nations Development Program and the WHO report that 1.6 million deaths per year in developing countries are caused by the indoor air pollution attributed to traditional fuels – that’s one life lost every 20 seconds.
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Location Map

Location Details

Anglican Diocese of Kagera Offices Location:
Murgwanza, Ngara District, Kagera Region, Tanzania

Mission:

To proclain the good news of Jesus Christ, disciple believers and serve communities spiritually, physically and mentally.

Vision:

Fullness of life in Christ.

From the Word:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9