Taiwan to help Tuvalu take advantage of solar power

Ma made the pledge during a meeting at his office with Tuvaluan Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Willy Telavi, who is in Taiwan until March 5. The president said that after his visit to Tuvalu last March, his government decided to help the island-state take advantage of solar energy in addition to continuing its regular aid programs, which include free medical services, education initiatives and projects to help Tuvalu develop its fishing industry.

Taiwan will promote an illumination-solution program, called "one lamp from Taiwan, to light up the villages in remote areas with solar energy and LEDs, " Ma told Telavi. Under the program, Taiwan will provide Tuvalu with photovoltaic power-generating systems that satisfy electricity needs in remote areas and save the country the expense of building more power generators.

Taiwan first adopted the project in Burkina Faso, one of its four African allies. It was designed to bring electric light to the homes of disadvantaged Burkina Faso students, who are often forced to study under streetlamps at night because they do not have electric power at home. Under the program, photovoltaic power-generating systems have been installed in participating schools and each student has been given an LED lighting kit equipped with a rechargeable battery that lasts four and a half hours. The children can recharge their lamps at school and bring them home to use at night.