Roger Peters, an OREC Board Member, shares with us how solar technology is being used in Tanzania in a four part blog series.
Northern Tanzania contains some of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world – Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks, and the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro. All these sites are located surrounded by villages, fertile farmland, and Masai range lands where local Tanzanians make their living.
It is very important that the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit every year minimize their environmental impacts on the parks and local farming economy. More and more lodges in the area are using solar energy to provide electricity and hot water, eliminating local emissions, the noise of generators, and the tanker trucks that would normally be used to bring in fuels and damage roads. The lodges can be built off the grid near the edge of the parks in the most environmentally appropriate locations.
During my visit to Tanzania I stayed at two of these lodges – Tarangire and Karatu Simba lodges. Each lodge has around 20 individual 1-3 person cabins or room size tents with indoor and outdoor showers, LED lights and an AC charging station. Each cabin or tent has its own solar PV system and solar water heater. The main lodge has a larger PV system and water heater. LPG is used for cooking in the restaurant. The LED lighting is not overly bright but quite sufficient for the cozy bar and restaurant or individual reading lights in the tents.
My trip to Tanzania organized by Farm Radio International showed me that the solar energy is a playing a leading role in bringing affordable, modern, sustainable services to the people of Tanzania and other African countries. Together with low cost mobile phones, FM radio, and mobile banking, solar is effectively helping people leapfrog over four services we take for granted – the power grid, land line phones, a physical banking system, and a postal address. Farm Radio International is helping to make all this happen. Check out their website.