Imagine living in a home with no electricity. Simple tasks like cooking, cleaning, reading, doing homework, getting caught up on work would be virtually impossible.
Yet that’s the case for 1 out of 7 people around the globe. Twende Solar is doing something about that.
Founded in 2015, Twende is a Portland, Oregon-based non-profit that aims to eliminate poverty, strengthen economies and protect ecosystems through the installation of renewable energy systems.
One example of their work can be seen in the Peruvian village of Mushuk Llamas. (more), where in January of 2019, 15 volunteers and the entire village worked together to install a 7.2kW solar facility. Mushuk Llamas a remote village, perched on a hillside overlooking the Cordillera Escalera, a regional conservation area in Peru’s San Martin region. Because of its location, it had previously been “off the grid,” with two gas-powered generators its only source of power.
Today, you can visit Mushuk Llamas, and see the effect of its new solar installation yourself. You’ll also get to experience some of the benefits of the village’s new power by purchasing handicrafts and enjoying fresh coffee and meals—all things that were difficult, if not impossible, for the villagers to provide prior to the new power system.
Twende means “let’s go” in Swahili, and is indicative of the organization’s proactive, can-do attitude. Twende works in remote communities that are off-the-grid, where it’s not only cost-prohibitive to bring traditional electricity-generating sources, but where doing so could also have a potentially negative environmental impact. In these communities, solar energy is a logical solution.
Twende–which was created by a group of solar PV industry professionals working at Elemental Energy–gets all its funding and equipment from various like-minded renewable energy companies, engineers and contractors around the US. Employees of these companies raise money for Twende projects, and often volunteer to help with the installations. The companies donate unused solar panels, batteries, generators and more.
Additional funding for Twende projects comes from Elemental Energy customers. When customers have solar systems installed, they can make a donation to Twende, and that donation will be matched in a discount on their systems up to $250. (For example, if a customer donates $150 to Twende, that customer will receive a discount of $150 on his/her solar installation.) About 90% of Elemental Energy customers make a donation, and receive a discount.
Solar energy provides a clean, reliable source of power for even the most remote communities, like Mushuk Llamas. Utilizing its expertise in system design, project logistics and installation, Twende seeks to empower developing communities worldwide–and ultimately achieve a more equitable society–by providing them with a sustainable source of electricity for years to come.