Boosting solar power in Tanzania

In Tanzania we have long suffered from power woes. Different reasons are given to justify power rationing but worldwide many private enterprises and townships have opted for solar energy and wind power.

The Tanzania Solar Energy Association (TASEA) was officially registered in May 2001. Its mission is to develop and promote rational use of solar energy. The source of almost all renewable forms of energy such as direct solar energy, biomass energy, wind energy and hydropower is the sun.

Tanzania has a very good potential for power generation from renewable energy sources. Some renewable energy technologies are available in Tanzania. Their application covers from heating, lighting, electricity, cooking, refrigeration, transportation, drying and water pumping. However, much more has to be done to spread the use of solar power in Tanzania.

Last week I read about one Danny Kennedy who has made a dramatic impact in the solar power industry. He helped in turning the Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia into a green building following his work on clean energy that has been going on for the past few years.

Danny, like many environmentalist associations, shares a common concern about climate change and politics of industrialisation with the objective of preserving our planet for the future.

Danny has travelled to the US to set up a solar company that brings solar technology simply and efficiently to the broader public. His marketing line is that the sun’s rays can turn any home into a solar powerhouse that could make things run in the house without electricity.

Prior to leaving Australia, Danny helped to green the home of the HYPERLINK "" t "_blank"Sydney Theatre Company in about two years. This happened through his expertise, insight and contacts. The project delivered the majority of the theatre company’s energy and water requirements from sustainable sources, the first for any theatre company in the world.

There is an often used quote saying that “The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” The objective is to be able to see that things that appear hopeless can be made otherwise through patience, intelligence and perseverance.

Danny’s new company is a response from his long-held passion to slow global warming with solar power. He is making it simple and easy to access, first for homeowners in America and as it scales and becomes cheaper, for the entire world. That is a win-win situation for everyone.

Anyone who has a home or business can cut out on their electricity bills by going solar. In Tanzania some firms deal in solar panels down one wonders why the technology has not picked up, like in some overseas countries. This would help alleviated the adverse effects of our power crisis especially because these solar installations are meant to be easy to install and are considered affordable.

There is no better way to feel empowered than to take control of one’s own electricity and take a stand against climate change with solar power.

Like Danny, I am sure we have many graduates who can team up with entrepreneurs to bring more solar energy to Tanzania homes, buildings and businesses that would help the country go greener and reduce global climate change.

Munir Daya is a businessman and freelance writer based in Dar es Salaam.