News / Africa

Senegalese Villages Turn to Solar Power



In Senegal, growing electricity shortages are forcing more and more people to turn to one of the country's greatest renewable resources, solar energy.

There are no power lines running through the village of Langueme, in the Factik region of Senegal.  Like many rural areas here, people here are not connected to the national electricity grid.  But, after years of waiting for power, the local government has turned to renewable energy, installing eight solar panels to power outside lights.

Village chief Hokhane Ndong says people are no longer afraid to go out at night.

Ndong says robbers who used to come during the night to steal from the village are not coming any more because there is light.

Ndong says before the village had light, older people would not leave their houses or send their children out after dark because they were afraid of being bitten by snakes.

Now, Ndong says family gatherings such as baptisms, weddings and religious rituals no longer stop after sundown.  And, students who used to spend hours crouched beneath the flicker of a candle or flashlight now easily complete their studies.

Solar power in Langueme is part of a renewable energy project sponsored by the French region of Poitou Charente. Modou Diop is the project's business manager.

Diop says electricity problems in Senegal can be solved by solar energy.  With a brief rainy season, Senegal has nearly nine months of uninterrupted sunshine every year.  So Diop says solar power is the country's most reliable and easily-accessible source of energy.

That is why Fatick's regional government partnered with Poitou Charente in 2008 to develop a renewable energy project in Senegal to give light to villages such as Langueme.

Senegal is struggling to keep pace with rising fuel costs and growing demands for electricity which have led to major blackouts, countrywide.  It is forcing some people to rethink the nation's future energy plans.

Mamadou Toure is Fatick's regional environmentalist. Toure says that, for many years, the Fatick region has had regular power cuts and people have not been able to work. But, Toure says after installing small solar units to keep computer and phone lines connected, many people can continue working.  He says local businesses are turning to solar power as a backup and some are even relying on it as a main source of energy.

Toure says the project aims to install solar panels in villages that are unlikely to have electricity 10 years from now.

Langueme chief Ndong says solar power illuminates health posts and allows people to charge their cell phones.

Ndong says solar light improves education in the village and makes life safer for everyone, because children used to study by kerosene lanterns that could catch huts on fire.  Now they can study safely during the night.  Ndong says it has really improved their lives.

Charging phones, illuminating health posts, fighting off snakes and thieves, could solar energy be the future for Senegal?   Project Manager Diop says with the constant evolution in technology, solar units will become less expensive.

Diop says the future of solar power in Senegal is political, because there is no competition for the national electricity provider, Senelec.  With all the problems of power cuts, he says a gradual push towards solar power should make it a long-lasting contributor to the country's energy needs.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs