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Southern Village goes Solar

Reusable and clean energy are some of the discussion topics when speaking about climate science and adaptation to climate change. Rather than use carbon-based fuels which emit greenhouse gases, solar energy provides a clean alternative with a minimal environmental footprint. Residents from the south in Santa Elena Village are making the leap to solar. A project that is a partnership amongst the GEF Fund, Plenty Belize, and the Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development is giving clean energy to Santa Elena. Toledo Correspondent Paul Mahung reports.

Paul Mahung: “A ceremony was held to inaugurate Santa Elena Village Solar Partnership Project now benefiting over 50 families in Rural Toledo. . One of the main speakers at Friday’s ceremony UNDP Global Environment Fund Small Branch Program National Coordinator Lionel Requena spoke to Love News at the event.

Lionel Requena: We are pleased to be celebrating this unique and inaugurative Solar Energy Partnership in Santa Elena. A partnership with the Barefoot College in India, the Ministry of Rural Development, Plenty Belize, The community of Santa Elena and of course funded by the GF Small Grants Program implemented by UNDP,  an inaugurative project, that brought light to Santa Elena. 49 homes now have access to electricity, renewable electricity contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and particularly Goal 7 and it’s all about partnership contributing to SDG 17.

Paul Mahung: Your comments and costing of the project?

Lionel Requena: “The overall cost and investments here in Santa Elena represents approximately $400,000 Belize with $100,000 in cash for financing provided by the GEF Small Grants program and other in kind and cash contributions by the Ministry of Rural Development, Plenty Belize, Barefoot College and  the community of Santa Elena.

Paul Mahung: Another main speaker was Rural Development Coordinator Ernest Banner.

Ernest Banner: “ We are working together as a team to bring light to the people of Santa Elena. There are 49 households that receive some form of the light, there were 8 that received a lantern and the 41 that has the 40 watt Solar Panel with four lights and a charging port.

Paul Mahung: The ceremony also include cultural entrainment by Santa Elena School students, presentation of Certificates of Recognition to the three female solar light engineers, cutting of ribbon and planting of Mahogany trees to mark the inauguration of the Solar partnership project. Reporting from Santa Elena Toledo for Love News I am Paul Mahung.

A solar power board was established to oversee the project and village residents would pay six dollars and forty cents to sustain the system. Two persons were trained with solar systems in the village to keep it managed properly.