Solar Potential Map
Household Energy, Inc.
Battery- less Flashlights
|Northern Mexico has among the best
potential for solar power in the world (For a look at a solar energy
potential map click here
). With the Foundation's
help, we have purchased five solar electric systems from local
electricians for about $550 per home and installed them
The system includes a 35 Watt
solar panel, a "deep cycle" battery designed for solar use, and three
fluorescent lights. The solar
panel is expected to provide electricity for 30 years (it has a 20 year
warranty), with minimal costs to replace batteries and light
The battery stores enough energy to provide light for several hours
every night, providing much better light while avoiding costs for
candles. Most families in the region also run a small radio or
television using solar power.
For more information on Kyocera solar
panels visit their website at
"Hot Pot" Ovens
|Solar ovens are a great labor-saving and
cost-effective alternative to cooking over the traditional wood
fire. The Hot Pot can be left outside during daylight hours to
cook many types of food. It reduces the labor and environmental
impact of collecting wood, as well as reducing the exposure of women
and children to indoor smoke.
Our friends at Solar Household Energy, Inc. (SHE, a Washington DC-based
nonprofit) have successfully demonstrated the Hot Pot through community
projects also in the north of Mexico, and are planning to produce Hot
Pots in Monterrey.
While SHE has found that Hot Pot ovens do not replace all wood-based
cooking needs, it is popular, cost-effective and can be used
daily. We are collaborating with SHE to plan demonstrations of
the Hot Pot in the communities we support, as a way of introducing the
technology to a new region of Mexico.
For more information about the Hot Pot visit Solar Household Energy at www.she-inc.org
|Flashlights are used sparingly in
Lavaderos because batteries are expensive. An alternative is a
durable, long-lasting flashlight that does not use batteries.
This flashlight gets power just by shaking it - a magnet pases through
a wire and generates power that is stored in a capacitor. The LED
bulb is expected to last a long time and they are sealed and
We have purchased several such flashlights for families to try - these
families suggested that the flashlights are a great asset and avoid
significant expenses for candles or batteries. With sufficient
donations, we can consider buying these flashlights in bulk at a
significant discount, to help many families in the regions.
For more information about the Nightstar flashlight pictured here
|Water is the most precious resource in
the desert. There are no wells in the community because they are
too expensive, so rainwater is collected in deposits. This
rainwater is not safe to drink, and so families need to boil the water
using wood fires.
A solar water distiller can provide safe drinking water,
replacing the need to boil water. The distiller is basically a
box in which water is evaporated and collected, and the distiller
is expected to last many years. The distiller can provide better
quality water while reducing labor and the health and environmental
impacts of wood burning.
For more information about distillers visit the website of manufacturer
SolAqua at www.solaqua.com