This sweet expression really means something for 50 families who live in Angola (San Vicente de Cañete), two hours away from Lima, Peru. They’ve waited more than 20 years for electricity, as they had no access to the regular network or were not included on the national program for access to energy. Do you know what that means on a daily basis?
It means that you spend a great of your earnings on candles. It means that you get used to the dark, because candles don’t last that long. So, you blow them out and go to bed, instead of studying or enjoying any other social activity with your family and friends. It means that you don’t have energy to recharge your cell phone or even have a nice cup of cold water or soft drink or a beer. It also means that you and your family are in danger. There’s one villager who left her baby next to candle. She turned her back for a moment, and the candle had been knocked over and a fire had started.
Unfortunately this situation is not only happening in Angola. There’s 1.3 billion people, 20% of world population, living in similar conditions. In South America, you’ll find, at least, 30 million. We, at Schneider Electric, believe that geographic isolation is no longer a barrier or an obstacle for access to energy. And we believe that energy brings social and economic development.
So our solution, for this community in particular, was to install solar panel system with batteries, one controller and three luminaries in their 32 houses and their 2 common rooms. It is environmentally-friendly, reliable, affordable and, equally important, a scalable solution.
It means that the villagers no longer need to spend 60 Pervuian Soles (~$20 USD) a month on candles or 20 Soles (~$7 USD) a day for 4 hours of light generated by a diesel engine that produces 1.5 tons of CO2 per year. They now have lighting and communication. They can watch television and use a refrigerator to store their products.
Now, they own the system and with the savings they make monthly and through the local association they have created, they can make the system grow to support their growing energy needs, without damaging the environment and not putting their families in danger!
They have also been through a training program in order to learn on how to maintain their devices and make the most of their energy.
If you have any doubt of how new 2015 is going to be for them, please watch this exclusive video.
Cheers and all the best in 2015!