News / Africa

Senegalese Villages Turn to Solar Power

Multimedia

Audio

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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid