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Kenyan Villages Receive Light Courtesy of Solar Startups

A lot of people are living without electricity daily. In Kenya, some remote villages have not experienced electricity for even a second. Over 1.3 billion people in the entire world do not have access to power supply.

Even though some remote villages cannot access electric grid, solar startup companies explain that harnessing the sun’s resources can provide electric for even the most remote parts of the world.

In most of the villages in Kenya, rooftop panels are gradually becoming a popular, cheap and great source of electricity – According to reports from special correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro.

Read the Transcript

Judy Woodruff

Bringing light, pictures, and sound to a lot of places around the globe that go dark during sunset.

Reporting from Kenya, Fred De Sam Lazaro hinted at the increasing popularity and promise of solar power.

This is one of our on-going series Breakthroughs and also a segment for the week on Leading Edge of Science and technology.

Fred De Sam Lazaro:

Peter Mulili’s village takes a longer time to reach. And even till this moment, the electricity grid is yet to reach his village.

But today, everything has changed for Mulili. He can now flip a switch to listen to a radio, put on an overhead light and watch music videos on his television.



Peter Mulili: (through an interpreter)

For a very long time, kerosene has been the only way I can provide light in my house. But today, I can channel that money to solar power that not only lights my house but allows me to charge phones and watch television.

Fred De Same Lazaro:

Mulili was paying close to $1.50 per day only on kerosene. Kerosene is still being used by Mulili’s neighbors in Central Kenya and a large population of about 1.3 billion people in the world that the electricity grid is yet to reach.

Many startup companies are taking advantage of improved technology including the falling prices of panels to provide a cleaner source of energy using solar power. This helps their customers to charge phones and perform other chores in the comfort of their homes. They ordinarily would have been heading to a nearby village to perform such tasks but for solar power.

Jesse Moore:

I spent the whole of my 20s traveling and working in diverse developing countries in the world.

Fred De Sam Lazaro

Jesse Moore controls one of the startups in Kenya. He is among the co-founders of M-KOPA a company that operates in Kenya.

Jesse Moore:

Our concern is to change the world and touch lives of low-income individuals by providing cheap, affordable and less expensive energy in their respective homes on daily basis.

Fred De Sam Lazaro

The entire process of setting up this power source is simple. Customers only put a panel on their roof and connect to a battery with wires. The energy generated can light three bulbs, charge phones and power a radio. The upgrades package includes the provision of a more powerful panel that can power a television.

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