I just got back from a quick trip to Honduras and Nicaragua. We have an exciting solar project in Honduras that was launched last year. We have financed over 135 projects in villages surrounding Choluteca and San Lorenzo in the South West part of Honduras on the West Coast. Electricity has yet to reach these areas.
The solar systems which are locally produced cost between $550 and $1,400 dollars depending upon power. The little systems can run 3 lights and a small black and white TV. The large systems can handle 5 lights, color TV, radios, and electric fans. Various parties, including Prisma make it easy for villagers to purchase the systems. Financing is as follows:
- The Interamerican Development Bank in conjunction with the Government of Honduras pay 30% of the initial cost of the system. They have also publicized the project with presentations in the villages and towns surrounding Choluteca and San Lorenzo.
- The villager puts down 10%.
- Prisma finances the remaining 60% over one to two year.
Some of the benefits the villagers find:
- Children can do some studying at night.
- Parents can do some work at night - for example, mending fishing nets and hand sewing.
- No longer have to use candles, kerosene lamps, nor the extra hot Coleman lanterns which generate lots of heat and pollute the air.
- Huge family gatherings when football season arrives.
The program is now moving into the Danli area. I believe we have listed about 8 of these projects on Kiva during the last year.