(NBC News )
Solar Power Sheds a Little Light on Powerless Communities
AUGUST 12, 2013Matt Rivera and John Roach, NBC NewsAnna Begay lives on a remote plot of land in the Navajo reservation. To reach her home, you drive through twisting, unmarked trails of dust and mud along the edge of Coalmine Canyon, in northwest Arizona.
This far out, it’s too expensive to connect her home to the electric grid. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have electricity.
When the sun sets she can switch on a solar-powered battery to light up her room. The solar panel was installed last spring, and now she wants to get more of them to light her way from the front of her door to the outhouse, about 200 feet away.
"Without having the light, I couldn’t see," Begay said through a translator — she speaks only Navajo. "It got really, really dark and I would be running into things, bumping into things. It did help to have the moon. Sometimes, when the moon’s out, that would illuminate the way for me."
Throughout the Navajo reservation — and much of the developing world — this scene is repeated again and again. Many families here use gasoline generators and kerosene for electricity and light, but fuel is expensive and dirty. Solar power might not replace all electrical needs, but as solar becomes cheaper, it’s quickly becoming one of the best solutions for the 1.2 billion people in the world who lack access to electricity.Read more: NBC News