FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, December 21, 2016—A series of solar fairs and activities were held across the country last week, and will continue in 2017. The “Solar Road Show” was held to raise awareness of the power of decentralized solar energy as part of the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution.
Activities included fairs and events in Newton, Freetown, Waterloo and Ma dengn, and radio messages that highlight the benefits of solar power. A key focus of each solar fair was a “solar truck”, used to play music, and to power TVs, fans and fridges. A variety of solar powered lanterns, rooftop systems and phone charging equipment were also on display. The roadshow took place across the Western area and Freetown before ending at the annual Ma dengn Beach Festival.
The events enabled hundreds of people to interact with, and learn about, solar products and to meet members of the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL). Radio messages explained how the public can find out more about solar technology and where to buy solar lights, rooftop systems and appliances.
“Solar energy saves families money, and will help businesses to thrive—but many people simply don’t know that modern solar lights and products for homes and businesses exist. Making sure people are aware of the opportunity to switch to better, cheaper power is vital if we are to end energy poverty.” said, Sam Zoker, Secretary, REASL
In Sierra Leone, only one percent of homes in rural areas are connected to the central grid, and 90 percent of rural homes use battery-powered torches for light. Batteries cost on average 10–15 percent of household income, but costs can be as high as 66 percent in some regions. Once purchased, solar lanterns and home systems are powered by the sun, enabling families to make big savings. Replacing all of the batteries and kerosene used for off-grid lighting in Sierra Leone with modern, renewable off-grid solutions would enable savings of over US$105 million per year.
The Solar Roadshow events and radio messages were organized by GIZ, Endev, Power for All, Barefoot Women, and REASL, and are a part of the Energy Revolution activities aimed at enabling 250,000 households to access solar lighting by the end of 2017, and modern energy for all by 2025.
Members of the public who would like to learn more about solar technology and where to buy solar products are advised visit a local Microfinance Bank, or contact the Barefoot Women Solar Engineers Association of Sierra Leone at Konto Line.