The Solar Village Project (SVP) envisions a world where:
- Clean, renewable and reliable energy is accessible and affordable for all people;
- The developing world leapfrogs dirty fossil fuels and relies on clean energy, and;
- The life-threatening impacts of climate change are permanently reversed.
Founded in 2014, SVP is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to ending energy poverty and reversing the negative impacts of climate change in the developing world. Our mission is to provide clean, renewable and reliable energy for all people, beginning with those who can least afford it. We provide:
- Solar lights and lanterns that are affordable — even for the most impoverished families and individuals in rural villages;
- Solar power systems that provide long-term reliable energy onsite, thereby limiting negative impacts from natural disasters and an unstable grid.
SVP believes a solar light can save a life. Over 1 billion people still lack reliable access to electricity. However, clean, renewable, reliable energy from solar lights can save lives. Solar lighting increases economic productivity for adults after dark, empowers women, and allows children to study for 2 hours more per night on average compared to homes without electricity. Solar lights create a safer and cleaner environment through the displacement of kerosene lanterns, which are a major contributor to indoor air pollution. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 alone, indoor air pollution from kerosene lanterns caused 4.3 million deaths, with women and girls accounting for 6 out of every 10 casualties.
SVP believes the purchase of energy must be affordable. Through the generous donations of solar power systems from our sponsors, SVP has installed solar panels at no cost to communities hit hard by natural disasters in Puerto Rico and in support of impoverished rural schools in India. Beyond charitable giving, however, SVP lets consumers make their own energy choices by providing solar lights at all price points, from individual lanterns that burn brightly for 8 hours to whole house systems that can power fans and TVs. Rural villagers can either purchase solar lights outright, or make a down payment and repay the loan through our microfinance initiative — a long-term, sustainable revolving loan fund that makes donor contributions to SVP go much further.
SVP bases its work on proven methods and academic research. The microfinance program is a proven model built upon rigorous research. In 2018, SVP ran a microfinance pilot project in India, which demonstrated that seventy percent of families were willing to purchase solar lanterns outright and the rest repaid their loans without any defaults. To better inform our marketing, SVP has also collaborated with the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy of Johns Hopkins University on a double blind study of 500 households that yielded detailed information on their overall willingness and ability to pay for solar lights.
SVP is focused on impoverished communities first. SVP seeks to empower communities with clean energy where the grid does not exist or is unreliable. In India, we have helped the most underserved communities, including the untouchable, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In Puerto Rico, we have placed solar panels on community centers in low income areas that provide shelter during natural disasters, and which provide cooking, entrepreneurship and educational opportunities for those most in need. Based on the feedback we have received in the communities we have helped, solar power has had a profound and positive impact on people’s lives.
SVP believes energy choices should be consumer driven, community centered and culturally sensitive. Everyone appreciates good quality products and services, no matter their socioeconomic status. SVP solar lights are connected to the internet, thereby providing an unparalleled level of service for rural villages by eliminating time and travel to distant markets to make payments or seek repair. With SVP solar products, the user can simply send a text or open an app to make a payment, or alert local technicians that there is a problem with their lights. At SVP, we hire local contractors who are familiar with the communities we serve to ensure that consumers receive proper training and the highest quality products and services that are appropriate for their needs.