Articles & Press Releases

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Sun Connect

Combining Solar Water Pumping and Drip Irrigation for Income Generation and Food Security: Solar Market Garden

September 17, 2013

The Solar Market Garden™ (SMG) is a technology designed to help rural farmers generate income and to combat food and nutrition insecurity in the developing world. It combines solar (photovoltaic) water pumping and low-pressure drip irrigation, allowing farmers in remote, dry regions to grow high-value and nutritious crops year-round.

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Q&A Interview with Robert Freling, Executive Director of the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF)

Why Benin?  How and when did SELF select this particular location in which to pioneer the Solar Market Garden?

SELF’s involvement in Benin began in 2006 when I was first contacted by Dr. Mamoudou Setamou, a professor of agricultural entomology at Texas A&M University.  Mamoudou had just returned from a visit to his native Kalalé, a very poor, dry district in the northern part of the country that is comprised of 44 unelectrified villages, or approximately 100,000 people.

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Solar Energy Illuminates Darkest Parts of Africa

August 24, 2012

Countries across Africa are enduring power generation crises, and others will in the near future. To avoid them, some are investing billions of dollars in new coal-fired power plants that harm the environment, potentially dangerous nuclear energy projects and huge hydroelectric schemes that cut people off from water sources.

Environmentalists and clean power proponents argue that the money would be far better spent on much smaller, but ultimately further reaching, renewable energy ventures concentrated at village and town level.

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SELF Taps the Sun to Break the Cycle of Poverty

April 13, 2012

More than one billion people live without access to electricity, according to World Watch. But now, an often-overlooked natural resource and the development of green technology are connecting people with a stable power source and lifting them out of poverty.

The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a Washington, D.C. based non-profit, develops solar energy solutions that bring modern connectivity to the most remote parts of the world ó in an environmentally sound way.

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Solar Energy Brings Food, Water, and Light to West Africa

March 13, 2012

It’s long been established doctrine in international development circles that diesel engines are the most cost-effective tools for pumping water and powering villages.

But Robert Freling has been turning that doctrine on its head. The executive director of the Washington-based Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), Freling has proven that solar power can be more economical than internal combustion engines, if the cost-benefit analysis looks beyond the short term. Exhibit A is SELF’s development project in Benin, a small country in West Africa.

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 PRESS RELEASE

NRG Completes First Two Projects under $1 Million Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Build Solar Energy Sites in Haiti

President Bill Clinton and NRG’s David Crane Tour Solar Energy Projects in Haiti

March 7, 2012 – Princeton, N.J. and Port-Au-Prince, Haiti: President Bill Clinton and David Crane, President and CEO of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), toured several sites in Haiti’s Central Plateau today to view the progress of solar power installations funded by NRG’s $1 million commitment made through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). These projects are being done in partnership with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a nonprofit organization that designs and implements solar energy solutions in developing countries, and include an additional $500,000 pledge from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

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Haiti Bringing Electricity to Business-starved Projects

February 29, 2012

Sometimes it seems as if Haitians have only the sun and moon: the blinding sun that bakes their mud homes and the moon that, along with flickering gas lamps, fights against the dark of night.

Electricity arrived just three months ago in this mountain village, and it’s gone as often as it’s on. With no power, there is no industry, just tiny farms and grinding hunger. Now that will be changing, with the help of that sun.

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  PRESS RELEASE

Solar Electric Light Fund Launches “Energy is a Human Right” Campaign

January 31, 2012 – Washington, D.C.: SELF announced that it is launching “Energy is a Human Right,” a campaign to provide a voice to the nearly 1.5 billion people around the world living without access to modern energy services, specifically electricity. It is also calling upon the international development community and general public to join the campaign by visiting www.EnergyIsAHumanRight.com to show their support for those living in energy poverty, and to learn how they can help provide energy access to assist in their economic, education, health and agricultural development.

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 PRESS RELEASE

Solar Electric Light Fund Receives Energy Institute Award for Best Community Initiative

November 22, 2011 – Washington, D.C.: SELF announced that it has received the Energy Institute’s (EI) Community Initiative Award for its Solar Market Gardens (SMGs) drip irrigation systems in Benin, West Africa. The EI Awards, given annually by the London-based Energy Institute, recognize innovation and excellence amongst individuals and organizations working in the global energy sector.

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Solar Brings Better Medical Care in Haiti

November 11, 2011

The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit working to control climate change and eliminate what they call “energy poverty” in the developing world. One of its solutions is to bring solar power to remote rural villages in these regions. The organization recently announced a successful installation of 29 kilowatts of off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems used to provide electricity to the Thomonde Hospital in Haiti.

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 PRESS RELEASE

Solar Electric Light Fund to Co-host Inaugural Global Solar Forum

November 9, 2011 – Washington, D.C.: SELF announced that it is joining Sun Aid and IDEAAS (Institute for the Development of Natural Energy and Sustainability) to co-host the Global Solar Forum taking place in Évora, Portugal from November 10-12. The forum is designed to bring together a group of diverse solar energy industry leaders to discuss and identify ways to eliminate poverty through the implementation of integrated solar technology solutions.

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 PRESS RELEASE

Solar Electric Light Fund Uses Solar Energy Systems to Improve Health Care Facilities in Thomonde, Haiti

November 2, 2011 – Washington, D.C.: SELF announced that a case study about its successful installation of 29 kilowatts of off-grid photovoltaic (PV) systems to provide electricity to the Thomonde Hospital in Haiti is available online from Trojan Battery Company. The system uses 126 PV modules and 48 Trojan batteries to power the hospital’s lighting, lab equipment, refrigeration, computers, and satellite communications system 24 hours a day, to help improve the quality of medical services provided to the community.

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A Light in the Dark: Solar Streetlights and Security in Haitian Camps

October 11, 2011

Streetlights do more than tell us when to be home – “Be back before they come on,” our parents would tell us – they also light the way and keep us safe. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sprawling camps of people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In recent months, the lights have come on at two camps through the efforts of aid groups, the Haitian government and the particular expertise of the Solar Electric Light Fund, or SELF, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that uses renewable energy to provide light and power in developing countries.

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 PRESS RELEASE

Solar Electric Light Fund Presents Solar Energy Solutions for Agriculture, Food Security and Energy Poverty at “Energy for All”

Solar Market Garden Drip Irrigation Model to be Showcased

October 10, 2011 – Washington, D.C.: SELF announced that its executive director, Robert Freling, will be at the “Energy for All: Financing Access for the Poor” conference to present the success of SELF’s Solar Market Gardens™ (SMG) drip irrigation system in providing food security to the communities of Bessassi and Dunkassa in Benin, West Africa. The conference, held October 9-12 in Oslo, Norway, was convened by the Norwegian government and the International Energy Agency (IEA) to explore financing mechanisms and supporting policies to increase energy access for the poor.

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 PRESS RELEASE

Solar Electric Light Fund Commits to Expand Energy Access to World’s Rural Poor

September 20, 2011 – Washington, D.C.: SELF made a commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative to scale-up its Whole Village Development Model, an integrated approach to implementing solar energy systems that empower rural communities in developing countries to improve their health, education, economic development, and food and water security. SELF will be joining international leaders at the United Nations Private Sector Forum on September 20 to discuss how access to energy can be realized for the 1.6 billion people who live in energy poverty.

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