Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Solar power program set to light up Samoa

www.abc.net.au
17 May 2013

Solar power will soon be illuminating communities in Samoa, with a plan to provide solar lighting kits to Samoan families. The Apia Rotary Club, working with local NGO Women in Business Samoa and assisted by Australian Rotary Clubs, have started a project to provide low-cost solar power lights to houses in the island nation.

Apia Rotary Club Director, Robyn O'Dell, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program power prices are unaffordable for some Samoans who instead resort to using dangerous kerosene lamps or go without any light at all.

"Electricity costs here are very very expensive", she said. She says the solar lights, which cost about $US9, will improve the quality of life for families without power and reduce bills for others. At full charge, the solar lights give off somewhere between six and 12 hours of light.

Initial funding for the project was provided by Graeme Boler, a New South Wales Rotary member, and Ms O'Dell says while most families will be asked to buy the lights, representatives from Women in Business will give them to some families for free.

"They have field workers going out every day and they will be distributing these lights to the working families", Ms O'Dell said. "In that process they will identify families who are very needy, and we hope to fill that gap by providing lights for free".

Prepaid power
Ms O'Dell says many families in Samoa pay for their power with a pre-paid system, so people often end up "in the dark" when their allotted power runs out. "This [system] helps to bring down the costs of power", she said. "It also helps people with being able to read and do their homework at night".

The same lights have proven successful in a similar scheme in Papua New Guinea, and Rotary has plans to take their project to other Pacific countries. "Once we finish our roll out plan based on the way we've done it, we'll have a framework for how this can be achieved", she said. "This can be passed on to other Pacific nations".

1 comments:

kai zimmer said...

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