Over the next three years SunFarmer will oversee the construction of 1.5 MW of solar energy systems, to generate over ten million dollars worth of solar electricity (compared to local diesel prices and calculated over the ten year lifetime of the solar energy system). That is enough electricity to deliver 1.8 million babies in a hospital, or provide 7.3 billion hours of light over a ten year period an ambitious goal for a country like Nepal that consumes only 0.12 megawatt-hours per capita according to the IEA (the US consumes 12.95 MWh/capita).
SunFarmer will design, install, and maintain world-class solar energy projects. SunFarmer serves as the general contractor overseeing all aspects of solar energy for its customers, contributing engineering, financing, and project management expertise to ensure reliable electricity. SunFarmer serves as a long-term partner, ensuring that the solar energy system works at least five years following installation.
SunFarmer will build upon its successful completion of over 100 projects to date in Nepal, and its strong network of local partners. Commitment partner Possible Health will contribute by helping SunFarmer identify high quality health clinics in need of modernizing health services through solar energy. Winrock International will help identify high quality agriculture projects needing energy to power irrigation and refrigeration to increase farmer incomes and food security. It will also seek education projects needing solar energy to power computers, printers, lights, and fans. Nepals Alternative Energy Promotion Centre will assist SunFarmer in ensuring that it will be able to continue to effectively work in Nepal with support from the government. Partner SunEdison, one of the largest solar energy companies in the world, will provide ongoing technical support.
The projects first year will include the completion of its first 40 kW of solar systems during the first quarter, based on existing contracts in Nepal. The second quarter will initiate the launch of a nationwide marketing campaign in Nepal.
In year Ones third quarter, SunFarmer will scale up an agriculture program to reach small holder farmers.
In the fourth quarter, it will complete 286 kW worth of solar electricity projects and enter a second country, to be determined.
With the initial phases of the project underway, SunFarmer will enter its third country in the third quarter of the projects second year. By the end of year Two, SunFarmer hopes to complete 714 kW worth of solar electricity projects.
The remainder of the commitments 1.5 MW will be completed in year Three.
Access to reliable, affordable electricity is a major challenge for hospitals, schools, farms, and other community institutions around the world. Electricity is needed to power everything from lab and surgical equipment in health clinics, to computers and lights in schools.
Solar energy is the perfect solution for the majority of the two billion people in developing regions lacking access to reliable electric grids. However, solar energy projects are often poorly installed, and many break just six to twelve months after installation. With high failure rates of solar energy projects over the past several decades, many potential customers are losing faith in solar as a reliable energy solution.
SunFarmers mission is to ensure that solar energy is done correctly in developing countries. It sets up local for-profit companies that handle all of a customers solar energy needs, from design and installation to long-term maintenance. By working with a large number of customers, SunFarmer can influence existing local contractors to improve their work and make solar the most reliable and affordable source of energy for all.
SunFarmer is currently seeking philanthropic funding to expand the work in Nepal, providing solar energy to farmers, hospitals, and other institutions. In addition, the partners are looking for funding to expand the work to another country.
SunFarmer offers partners best practice information on off grid solar and renewable energy. In addition to the expansion of solar contracting services, it is launching Offgrid U, a training and information portal intended to train the next generation of off grid solar engineers and entrepreneurs. The portal will contain input from the worlds leading experts (including companies such as SunEdison) on best practices in off grid solar engineering. SunFarmer will publicly announce Offgrid U for the first time coinciding with CGIs 2015 Annual Meeting.