Globally, 1.3 billion people, over 18% of the world’s population, live without electricity. Access to electricity improves fuel efficiency, access to education, quality of life, and quality of healthcare while also increasing productivity, reducing carbon emissions and helping to prevent de-forestation. Additionally, over 30% of people do not have access to electricity and must rely on kerosene lamps for light. These lamps are not only hazardous to people’s health, but also release harmful black carbon and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In 2013, after years of working closely with our water entrepreneurs in remote Ghanaian villages, we were incredibly impressed by the women’s business acumen and desire to help their communities. Excited to do more with these women, and overwhelmed with options, Saha turned to our network of past Field Reps for ideas. In 2012 Ben Powell (2010 Summer Field Rep) and Mark Moeremans (2012 Summer Field Rep) pitched us their idea for Saha solar businesses, which they piloted in Ghana the next Fall. Thanks to the generous support of Boston-based company, Next Step Living, we were able to pilot solar businesses in four more of our water communities and launch the solar Global Leadership Program in 2014. To date, Saha has launched 28 solar businesses which provide access to electricity to approximately 10,662 people.
Saha Global solar entrepreneurs use solar panels to provide access to electricity to their community. They then rent rechargeable batteries, which power household lanterns and small electronics. Community members can also pay a small fee to charge other items, such as cell phones. All of the equipment needed to build the solar charging centers, is purchased locally from our current partner, Burro, a social business located in Koforidua, Ghana. Click through the picture gallery below to learn more about the details about these solar charging centers.