In a country where only 40% of people have access to grid electricity, the government is looking to sunshine to power health centres and homes
Before solar panels were installed at Masaki village’s only health centre, doctors, nurses and midwives had to use dim flashlights or the glow from their cellphones to deliver babies and treat night-time emergencies. In one case in 2010, a man arrived late after a motorcycle accident and needed a wound stitching. As the nurse began the procedure by the light of her torch, she felt a cold slithering sensation against her legs. A large black snake was moving across the dark, cement floor. The nurse fled, leaving the patient in the dark with the snake.
The work of the centre, which is five hours drive down a dirt track from the capital Dar es Salaam and serves a population of 1.5 million people in surrounding villages, is now transformed by a two kilowatt solar array installed on the roof at a cost of $15,000 (£9,700).
And the government wants many more like it. In February, it launched its One Million Solar Homes initiative to provide the sun’s power to 1m properties by 2017. Off Grid Electric, the Tanzanian company implementing the initiative, says it will provide power to 10% of the country’s homes. Currently, only 40% have access to grid power with access particularly sparse in rural areas.
Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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