Luci√©rnaga Brings Clean Energy to Thousands

by Sebastian Africano, International Director

women's co-op Honduras
International Director Sebastian Africano discusses the benefits of solar
lighting with a member of the Lenca Women’s Ceramics Cooperative in rural
La Paz, Honduras.

Eighteen months ago, Trees, Water & People (TWP) launched a¬†program to sell solar photovoltaic lighting systems in Honduras under a grant¬†provided by the U.S. Department of State‚Äôs Energy and Climate Partnership of¬†the Americas. This program has been so successful that we will be expanding¬†to other Central American countries under the name Luci√©rnaga (‚Äúfirefly‚ÄĚ in¬†Spanish). By utilizing our 15 year old partnerships in the region, we can reach¬†people that have no access to electricity, helping them modernize, bring jobs¬†to the country‚Äôs rural areas, and also importantly, care for their natural world.

Our focus is on two types of solar lighting and cell phone charging¬†systems ‚Äď a strong, waterproof, portable LED lantern, and a wall-mounted,¬†lighting system with four LED bulbs that can be placed throughout the house.¬†Both products are inexpensive, but still provide high-quality lighting that can¬†replace the dirty kerosene lamps and candles that light every room in the home.

barefoot power solar lights_HondurasRural families in the region often group together into small agricultural¬†cooperatives ‚Äď organizations made up of dozens to thousands of small farmers that¬†combine their coffee, cacao, grain, timber, sugarcane, and other crops before they¬†take it to the market. Cooperative members also use the organization as a bank ‚Ästthey take credit from the co-op before planting season, and pay it back when they¬†sell their produce.

In places without banking services, cooperatives are a lifeline for rural families,
and a natural fit as a retailer for our solar lighting products. Since Trees, Water & People sells the lights and chargers to the cooperatives on consignment, there is little risk for the members and products can be purchased at a low-cost, on a payment plan. This distribution model allows us to offer quality lighting and cell phone charging products to unlit homes at affordable prices, improving the health and environment of these communities for many years to come.

The Luciérnaga project is another great example of how TWP is illuminating
opportunity and homes in Central America. However, we¬†couldn’t¬†do this without¬†our donors, as their support has truly brought positive change to the lives of the¬†people in these communities.

To learn more please visit our website or support this project by making a donation to help bring solar lights to families in Honduras.

Photo of the Week: Bringing Solar Energy to Rural Honduras

Sebastian Africano_La Paz Honduras
TWP International Director Sebastian Africano discusses the benefits of solar lighting with a member of the Lenca Women‚Äôs Ceramics Cooperative in rural La Paz, Honduras. This group of women is responsible for some of the most remarkable sculpture work in Honduras, and have replaced candlelight and smoky ‚ÄėOcote‚Äô pine flame with bright Barefoot Power LED lights, helping them work evening hours to get products to craft markets throughout Honduras.