Lesotho faces the dual challenges of requiring domestic engineering expertise to support development (improving infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity distribution networks) and losing many of its most talented citizens to lucrative employment opportunities abroad. Currently 85% of Basotho - along with the health clinics and schools that serve them - lack access to energy, and while 45% of Basotho are unemployed, support for technically-inclined local enterprise remains lacking.
We have developed an affordable solar energy technology that can be manufactured entirely in Lesotho and which is sized for use at rural health clinics and schools. Since 2006, we and partners in Lesotho have planned with key stakeholders (Ministries of Health/Education, NGOs), trained a staff capable of scaling solar manufacturing, held training courses, built a new workshop, and conducted field tests. We are now putting together the puzzle pieces to ramp up to mini-grid installations!
Lesotho alone has over 170 health clinics and 400 rural schools serving over 1.5 million people; the African continent has over 300x more institutions and citizens in need. Local renewable energy enterprise - based on local manufacture rather than imported goods - has the potential to serve these markets, improving quality of life for millions of rural denizens, without CO2 emissions and while providing quality local jobs and keeping revenues within the local economy.
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