The mission of Empowered by Light is to improve lives and the environment through renewable energy technologies. In Zambia, Empowered by Light (EBL) has piloted the Mugurameno project, which is a hybrid non-profit and sales revenue-collecting project aimed at developing a sustainable and scalable model for rural electrification.
Mugurameno Basic is one of the most rural schools in Zambia, serving seven villages with nearly 600 students. Until recently, the school had no running water or electricity, making education and teacher retention extremely difficult. In early 2016, EBL’s local installers extended subterranean lines to teacher and community member homes in a pay-as-you-go metering system that will fund the maintenance and operation of the solar micro grid. Now, with LDF support, Mugurameno Basic will receive free power for lighting purposes and surrounding community members will be provided with the opportunity to connect their homes to the power system for affordable power services such as lighting, cellphone charging, TVs, radios, and refrigeration.
EBL plans to install the second of this microgrid model at Chisakila Basic School (also in the Lower Zambezi region) later this year. Additional future projects in 2016 include supporting LDF partner Amazon Watch to create a system of solar-powered community microgrids, radio networks, and internet to monitor and expose oil drilling developments in the Kichwa people of Sarayaku territories. EBL also plans on installing a renewable energy system for the ranger stations in LDF-supported Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Projects like these are proving that developing nations can literally leapfrog decades of fossil fuel infrastructure development by powering their countries with renewable energy today. EBL’s goal is to build multiple demonstration projects around the world, improving the lives and the environment of communities surrounding those projects and further demonstrating the importance, feasibility, and sustainability of electrifying very remote and critical areas around the world with 100% clean renewable energy.