I am Dr. Richard Komp, a solar scientist, and I have worked since 1977 empowering rural communities around the world through providing both hands-on teaching and resources for solar energy projects. Access to electricity generated by the sun can make a huge difference in these people's lives, but it is not enough to bring technology there and leave it. We take an approach that provides a deep level of understanding and expertise so these communities can create, install, maintain, and even sell solar products, a model of sustainable development. Our solar sailboat will be able to provide workshops and resources to coastal communities in the Caribbean that cannot be reached by roads, and also make it easy to follow-up and provide additional support necessary for real change to occur.
What We Need & What You Get
We need funds to refurbish a donated sailboat that can serve as our floating solar workshop center. Funds are also needed to set up and sustain the project by purchasing solar cells and other products that are not locally available. We are hoping to raise $18,500 for this first phase of the project.
Check out our donor perks below, that include a universal solar cell phone charge made by workshop participants, or even a spot on the boat (with sailing lessons) to one of our Caribbean destinations.
The ImpactOur floating solar workshops can make a real impact: solar energy can cook food, leading to less deforestation and time
women spend gathering fuel; solar chargers can power cell phones, improving communication and providing small business opportunities; solar-heated water can bring hot, desalinized water to coastal communities, rural hospitals and health clinics; PV modules can sanitize medical equipment or light a room so a
child can study at night.
Our approach, developed through years of work with communities in countries such as Nicaragua, Peru and Mali, combines bringing technology into reach with community development and empowerment. In the past 25 years, I have seen many successes -- the work of Grupo
Fenix in Nicaragua; AfriqPower in Mali (featured in the award-winning
documentary "Burning in the Sun"); and the LED streetlights made in
Haiti that lit streets and helped create impromptu survival camps after
the earthquake. Nothing is just given for free -- participants must agree to also contribute and become capable of maintaining the technology themselves. For that reason we provide hands-on workshops on building, installing, maintaining and repairing solar technologies. One key to successful implementation of solar technologies such as solar cookers is to follow-up -- our sailboat will enable regular, repeated visits to areas that are often not accessible by road.
Your contribution can be part of this exciting new project. We already have community partners in place who are waiting for the solar sailboat to provide important work for sustainable development in the following places: San Andrés, Colombia (a small island that is home to a Garifuna community); the Miskito Coast in Nicaragua and Honduras; Akumal, México; and coastal communities in Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and the Dominican Republic.
Imagine -- your donation can help to empower communities, create sustainable development, and increase the availability of solar energy -- all at once!