Mother Jones published a story on the important role solar power is playing in rural Africa to combat poverty. Residents are taking it upon themselves to harness solar power using small diy kits:
In Tanzania, the population is predominantly rural and scattered in small villages across vast reaches of terrain, while the state-owned utility is chronically cash-strapped and urban-focused. So Murandika’s pessimism about the grid is almost certainly justified. But just as the mobile phone revolution in Africa dramatically reduced the need for telephone landlines, solar power is now leapfrogging the electric grid. Like Murandika, thousands of rural Africans are turning to solar as the solution, in a clean-energy boom that development experts say could become a catalyst for widespread economic empowerment.
These aren’t the oceanic fields of solar panels some German entrepreneurs have proposed to build in the Sahara, nor the grid-connected rooftop systems that power entire American homes. Instead, these are small kits that come complete with the necessary panels, wiring, power converters, and batteries to power a few lightbulbs, a small appliance, or a cellphone charger.