Families talk benefits of solar

50 families benefited from long-term loan arrangements that TecAp successfully negotiated with an international lender Root Capital and a Nicaraguan coffee cooperative UCPCO in July of 2010.  TecAp revisited these families to find out what their experience had been like and what benefits they had experienced since having their home solar system installed.  They all talked about benefits to their family, cost savings, and even how having the system improved businesses they ran out of their home.  Read on to find out how solar power impacts rural families:

1) Benefits to the family: Family health improves when kerosene lamps that produce toxic pollution and soot in the home are replaced with clean energy solar-powered lights. Caring for the sick during the night is also much easier with switch-on solar lights rather than candles and flashlights. Since women and girls may spend several hours a day hauling water from a nearby well, pumping water into the house via a solar-powered pump can save the family a lot of time and energy. Being able to irrigate crops or small gardens via solar-powered water pumps increases yields and provides the family a more varied diet that includes many more vegetables than they likely would be able to afford if they had to purchase them outside of the home. Other benefits to the family are related to education and saving time and energy. Family members are able to study and do homework after dark, and new electric appliances, like blenders, reduce the time and energy needed for daily food preparation.

2) Solar energy saves families money each month on batteries, fuel and long trips to charge cell phones. These savings can be put toward better nutrition for the family (for example, buying meat rather than just rice, beans, and corn).

3) Solar energy helps women generate income in their microenterprises. Women who have home-based convenience stores say that neighbors are attracted to their stores at night. Stores that used to have to close after dark are now able to remain open as late as they please. They report that neighbors may come in to watch a show on the new solar-powered TV and end up buying food from the store as well.

Saving money and increasing income create a higher quality of life for these families.