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Small Scale Solar Powers Rural Africa

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Tiny Systems = Epic Role

Small scale sustainable energy projects are popping up all over rural Africa.

In Kiptusuri, Kenya, a family can now buy a small Chinese made solar power system for $80, and this one small panel provides enough energy to charge a cell phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches.

These tiny systems are playing an epic and transformative role in villages that have never had a power grid. Money is saved on candles, kerosene and extensive trips undertaken just to charge a cell phone in a village.

With the advent of cheap solar panels and high efficiency LED lights- which can light a room with just 4 watts of power instead of 60 watts, these small solar systems now deliver useful electricity at a price even the poor can afford.

Entire parts of the world are bypassing power lines, and going directly to solar. The challenge now is to get distribution of these units up to scale. 85% of Kenyans still live without electricity.

See a proud mother tell of her son's vastly improved grades now that he can, for the first time, study after sunset!

--Bibi Farber

This video was produced by The New York Times 12/24/2010 article:
"African Huts Far From The Grid Glow With Renewable Power" by Elizabeth Rosenthal