Zimbabwe

In the early 1990’s, Zimbabwe was only 20% electrified. This left the nation’s sparsely populated rural areas completely cut off from electricity.

In 1991, SELF designed the UNDP/ GEF Zimbabwe Solar Project for Rural Household and Community Use for the Global Environment Facility. This project brought electricity to a portion of the 8 million people living in rural communities without electricity in Zimbabwe who have been cut off from development as a result of energy poverty. Since its conception, this project has grown to support 9,000 households, spawning dozens of small solar enterprises.

In the early 1990’s only 20% of Zimbabwe was electrified. This left the nation’s sparsely populated rural areas never to be connected to the grid. The national government had invested $10 million into rural electrification in the 1980’s, but the program did not yield as much success as was anticipated. Approximately 8 million people were cut off from development opportunities as a direct result of energy poverty. In addition, Zimbabwe’s primarily relied upon the burning of fossil fuels to produce its energy. Not only does this practice lead to damage to the country’s natural environment, it also exacerbates the issue of global climate change.

SELF believed that solar power could help Zimbabwe avert environmental degradation while providing electricity to its rural population. Solar energy is particularly effective in this region because its sunlight levels are 20 to 25 higher than East or West Africa.

SELF designed the UNDP/ GEF Zimbabwe Solar Project for Rural Household and Community Use for the Global Environment Facility in 1991. This project has grown to support 9,000 households, spawning dozens of small solar enterprises.

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Since 1990, SELF has completed projects in more than 25 countries and pioneered unique applications of solar power such as for drip irrigation in Benin, health care in Haiti, telemedicine in the Amazon rain forest, online learning in South Africa and microenterprise development in Nigeria.

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