Renewable Energy in the Developing World

Renewable Energy in the Developing World
By Dan Britton, Director of Operations, CT Office

I recently had the exciting opportunity to travel to Nicaragua to install and tour renewable energy projects in the developing world.  Paul Israel, owner and founder of Sunlight Solar, offers an extra week of paid vacation to all Sunlight Solar employees who wish to participate in Green Empowerment’s Renewable Energy in the Developing World trips.  In April, I took Paul up on his offer and made my way to Managua, Nicaragua to meet a group of 12 other participants, including one other Sunlight Solar employee from our Portland office.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, second only to Haiti.  Over 60% of people in Nicaragua, 80% in rural areas, do not have access to clean drinking water and many in rural areas do not have access to electricity.  Our group traveled to several rural communities to see existing projects and lend a hand installing several small solar electric systems and a hoop house for a sustainable agriculture project.  During the trip we broke up into groups and stayed with families in the community.  Most homes we stayed in were clay or brick structures with dirt floors, little or no electricity, no potable water, and have lots of animals running around.  This was a bit of a culture shock, but provided an unforgettable experience and wonderful opportunity to interact with locals.  Some of the cultural highlights included the Nico vs. Gringo baseball game and 3 square meals a day of rice, beans and eggs.

Green Empowerment is an organization based in Portland, OR that “works with local partners around the world to strengthen communities by delivering renewable energy and safe water.”  Green Empowerment and their local partner, AsoFenix, have installed a number of solar, wind and micro-hydro systems to provide clean water and electricity.


Sunlight Solar invites you to join their 2014 volunteer team to empower Nicaragua or The Philippines with solar energy installs! There are no set requirements for volunteers but interested participants should budget $1,500 – $2,000 + airfare once the final destination is determined. For more information regarding volunteering with Green Empowerment and joining the Sunlight Solar team contact Aaron Liss at [email protected]

Check out this video about one of the solar projects in Nicaragua


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *