Five countries you probably didn’t know were going solar

Mongolia has historically been a nation of nomadic herdsmen, far removed from city life, and their decision not to settle in one place has made it hard to establish any sort of infrastructure in the region. When your home itself is transient, it’s hard to find power to plug into. This has changed thanks to a program by the World Bank where small, portable, solar panels have been given to some 500,000 individuals, roughly 50% of Mongolia’s rural population. The World Bank claims that some of the benefits of this access to electricity include safer lighting, and the ability to get weather reports as well as market prices in distant locations via television or mobile phones.
Many people in Kenya are without electricity and this makes them an ideal candidate for distributed solar programs. In some villages, individual families have purchased solar panels for their homes, while others have selected to test out larger village-scale utility systems called ‘microsols’ that provide power, heat, and clean water to villages with up to 1,000 inhabitants. These large scale PV projects have a lifespan of 20 years, produce 50 megawatt-hours of electricity per day, 1,000 cubic meters of water, and about 800 magawatt-hours of heat energy per year.
Guatemala is only 900 miles from the U.S. border, yet 520,000 people who live here, live without electricity. How can a country with such great history tracing back to the ancient Mayans be so far behind when it comes to basic utilities such as electricity, and what is it doing to fix that? Guatemala is a rugged country and many places lack paved roads, or where there are paved roads, they may be damaged from the heavy rains and flooding that bombard certain regions. All of these factors keep many people off the electric grid but over the past few years, private companies have been investing in setting up solar PV projects in the regions without power and that trend is beginning to grow.
The company Sunfounder, recently gave a $10,000 loan to finance 450 units of solar lighting and mobile phone chargers. With this investment, nearly 1,800 individuals stand to benefit from the loan and the environment benefits by reducing 60,300 kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
One may not expect Fiji to be on this list, however, it is because of its unique layout of many islands, making it hard to have a central grid to provide power to all of the islands. This is beginning to change as Kyocera is partnering with the Fijian Department of Energy to bring power to 2,000 households that previously never had reliable access to power.
Do you know of other countries that are taking strides to enhance their electric grid with solar? Share them with us at!

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