A reliable power supply is critical for businesses. But it’s also vital for education and health. Children cannot learn and health centres cannot heal without good light and power. In Ghana, 40% of the population aren’t connected to the mains power supply, and it is not reliable even for those who are.
Deng’s solution is solar power. The company sells a range of photovoltaic (PV) systems, starting with a standalone version for the home costing US$500 and larger versions for schools and hospitals costing up to US$1500. Customers pay in instalments and are immediately saving on the kerosene they used previously. By 2009 Deng had installed 1200 PV systems and sold 7000 solar lanterns.
However, the success of the work depended on more than design and manufacture. As so often, it is the human infrastructure that is vital. The systems are only so good as there are local people to promote, install and maintain them. So Deng set up a training centre for both designers and installers. By 2009 this centre had become a separate company with support from the World Bank to expand its services.
Meanwhile more children can read at home and in schools and more reliable local health centres reduce the need for people to travel long distances for medical support. And it isn’t just the young who benefit. As an 84 year-old man said of the benefits of the solar lighting. “I like having the light to read in the evenings – there are so many books that I want to read.”