Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Field Partner: Barefoot Power brings solar to rural Tanzania

Join us in welcoming our new Field Partner Barefoot Power -- a company dedicated to bringing solar light and electricity to the regions in Tanzinia that need it most.

Worldwide, 1.6 billion people live without electricity. Instead, they depend on kerosene lamps or candles, which cause millions of respiratory illnesses and fire-related deaths and injuries every year. But, as a social for-profit enterprise, Barefoot Power has come up with a way to brighten these people's lives by providing sustainable electricity and building a green economy at the same time.

We join the Barefoot Power team in their belief that access to energy is one of the key building blocks of economic development. Barefoot designs and manufactures a range of “micro-solar” lighting products that use long-lasting, white LED technology -- enabling children to do homework, adults to carry out household chores, and individuals to charge their cell phones without compromising their health and safety.
Kiva loans will enable distributors and retailers buy large shipments of these products to help accelerate solar adoption in poor communities. These energy entrepreneurs establish their businesses in central locations, creating jobs and access to technology, but the high upfront costs are prohibitive without flexible, affordable financing.

Kiva loans to Barefoot Power entrepreneurs will help support social objectives like health and education, economic objectives like job creation and access to electricity, and environmental objectives like eliminating 300,000 tons of greenhouse gases by 2015 and reducing toxic battery disposal.

These loans will help close supply chain gaps and expand solar power technology into the most remote, underserved regions to "illuminate" productivity. While these loan amounts are significantly higher than our average loans, just one fully-funded loan will help bring many other people out of the dark.

Here's a video of our first Barefoot Power borrower, a solar lighting distributor named Martin who is currently fundraising on Kiva:

For more information on Barefoot Power, check our its Kiva Field Partner profile. Or lend to a energy distributor today. Send any questions or comments about Barefoot Power or Kiva's involvement in ther technology to blog@kiva.org.

Photo courtesy of Barefoot Power.