This commitment implements a financial system for people living in rural areas of Ethiopia. This is a loan which has to be paid back within three years. In this way, after a period of five years, sufficient means are once again available to finance further solar systems. The result is a so-called 'revolving fund': Once it has started rolling, it continues to take effect over a period of decades.
After completing a training, fund recipients have the possibility of founding their own small solar enterprise and in this way a network of Solar-Centers spread all over Ethiopia will be born.
The Solar-Centers fulfil the following major tasks:
- Advising people who are interested in solar energy about its advantages.
- Installation of solar systems of various sizes.
- Management of the revolving fund as a financing tool over three years.
- Maintenance and servicing.
Four Solar-Centers started their work already as a pilot project in the autumn of 2008. These initial Solar-Centers will still be run by employees of the Solar Energy Foundation. The Solar-Centers planned from 2009 onwards will be independent businesses, only linked to the Solar Energy Foundation by a franchise-like contract. After the start-up phase, all of the new Solar-Centers will be self-sufficient.
People need power sources because they are an important basis for education, development and economic prosperity. The east African state of Ethiopia has a population of around 80 million, but only one percent of the rural population is connected to the electricity power grid. As a rule, their only source of light is a paraffin lamp which emits only a weak glimmer and is furthermore detrimental to health. Approximately 70 litres of paraffin is burnt in one single lamp every year producing 160 kilograms of carbon dioxide.
The demand for solar energy in Africa is great. The technology is tried and tested. A sustainable solar economy, however, requires financial assistance to help cover the high investment costs of the solar systems.
SEEKING: financial resources; media/marketing opportunities. Partnerships with banks/foundations/investors for loans and foundations for grants
OFFERING: best practices information. Information about rural electrification with solar power: training, products, installation, maintenance/service, financing for endusers