Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Zara Solar wins Lighting Rural Tanzania competition

Zara Solar Ltd won an Ashden award in 2007 for its work enabling people in rural Tanzania to access quality yet affordable solar PV systems. Last week they won a grant of up to $100,000.00 through the Lighting Rural Tanzania Competition for a project delivering solar lighting to school children.

More than 85% of Tanzania’s population lack access to the national grid. This means millions of school children depend primarily on polluting kerosene lamp for studying at night, leading to respiratory diseases and creating other hazards.

The Lighting Rural Tanzania Competition is a World Bank supported competitive grant program to support private enterprises in developing and delivering a wide array of modern lighting products for rural households and businesses. These small-scale projects must not only deliver results, but also have the potential to be expanded or replicated.

The winning project, to be implemented within 12 months, will use solar and LED technology to provide solar lighting to millions of school children. It will tackle many barriers to accessing solar energy by making reliable, affordable lights available to children for home study and by installing charging systems in schools.
By using a more innovative delivery model, Zara Solar expects to encourage a greater use of solar lighting within households, raise awareness in local communities and trigger greater demand for solar in rural areas.

Find out more about past award-winners on our website.


La Lytle said...

It's great to see such a life-impacting project get rolled out. I also like also like that the project consisted of using both solar and LED technology.

The Ashden case study also stated that Zara also worked with the community of Tanzania to help them to identify 'fake' equipment that is sold by some smaller shops.

They wanted to ensure that the community of Tanzania benefited from quality PVs that would make a lasting impact on the students in Tanzania.

Ashden Awards said...

Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you found this post interesting. It is indeed inspiring to see these projects expand and increase their impact. Zara Solar have, in fact received several awards since 2007, a hallmark that they are continuing to develop and have a great impact.

Indeed being capable of discerning quality solar pv equipment from 'fakes' is an important step in establishing the credibility and reliability of solar energy in rural communities.

I also like the fact that Zara are keen to develop better demand, because often this can create vicious cycles. If suppliers do not supply to rural areas for the lack of consistent demand this can result in those communities having little awareness of the potential of solar technology.