Solar lamp to light up

Posted at: SATurday - 16/06/2012 11:18 - post name: Nguyễn Mai Nhiệm
The Ho Chi Minh Energy Conservation Center in collaboration with the Red Sun Energy JSC and the An Giang Industry Promotion and Development Consultancy Center recently donated solar powered lamps to some poor households living at My Thanh Village, My Hoa Hung Commune, Long Xuyen City, An Giang Province. "I prefer solar lamps to kerosene alternatives because I can study for just 30 minutes every night with a kerosene lamp," said fourth-grade pupil Lam Thi Giau.

The handing over ceremony took place at the My Thanh Culture House on a rainy day. Hundreds of local people attended the event.
There are around 350 households at My Thanh Village and all of them have not had access to electricity. Long Xuyen City People's Committee Vice Chairman Tran Thi Kim Loan said, "My Thanh is the only village in the city without electricity because it is hard to set up concrete electricity columns there. We have received many suggested solutions including the use of wind power, solar energy or bio-energy. However, no feasible solution for electricity from renewable energy sources has been accepted as they require so high investment rates and cost prices that go beyond the local funding and people's purse."
At present, My Thanh villagers live mainly by running passenger boats or doing manual work in the city and are hard to make both ends meet. Most of them have to use kerosene to light. Only few households can purchased battery boxes but must run into the city to charge. These boxes allow them to light for 3 hours after cost them VND27,000 as charging fee.
Aware of the situation, The Ho Chi Minh Energy Conservation Center and the Red Sun Energy JSC have coordinated to donate 10 solar lamps to 10 poor households at My Thanh Village. "My Thanh Village has potential to develop solar electricity and we decided to pilot donation of 10 solar lamps to local households and will monitor their use before expanding the model over the village," said Director of Ho Chi Minh Energy Conservation Center Huynh Kim Tuoc.
The solar lamp looks like the French Manchon and is led-lit. Each household is fitted with a collection of solar panels on the roof to receive solar energy for the lamp. If the sun shines all the day, the amount of solar energy will be sufficient to light from 2-3 nights. Solar led-lit lamps are safe for home use and carry-along. With installation costs of about VND1.2 million per lamp, people can use the lamps for about two years.
Currently, My Thanh People's Committee is providing 10 liters of kerosene per month for every My Thanh households, which is worth of VND210,000. The amount will come up to around 2.52 million per year and be able to cover installation costs for two solar lamps.
My Hoa Hung Commune People's Committee Vice Chairman Nguyen Van Liem revealed that "Since the establishment of our village, we have had a single dream of having electricity to light. Our dream has now come true with these donated solar lamps. We are joyful and hope to receive more assistance in the future."
71-year-old farmer Lam Van Quan at My Thanh Village let out, "over the past 71 years, I have dreamt to live in an electricity-lit house where I and my family members can live and learn in sufficient light. Now, our family has received a solar lamp and we feel happy. I expect that this model will be expanded over the village so that the whole village will be lit up."
I came in a small thatched house furnished with a bed and a wooden cabinet and found fourth-class pupil Lam Thi Giau reading in the light of a solar lamp. When I asked her whether she like the new lamp or not, she answered yes and expressed her joy of being able to learn for a longer time than just half an hour every night with a kerosene lamp.
I saw My Thanh villagers were pleased with the donated solar lamps that materialize their dreams of being lit up at night. They asked technical staff many questions on how to use the lamps and whether they would turn it off at day time to save the energy. "People here are curious about the lamps and turn my head with their questions, but they seem really happy," said technician Tri.
The entire village of My Thanh used to be kept in silence after 6pm and sink into the profound darkness at night; however, it has become lit up and more active by night now. When the village is lit, villagers can hope for a better convenient life with electric appliances including television sets and electric fans. It is expected that the Ho Chi Minh Energy Conservation Center, the Red Sun Energy JSC and the An Giang Industry Promotion and Development Consultancy Center will continue this model after the pilot program and the entire village of My Thanh will soon be lit up with solar lamps.
According to Director of Ho Chi Minh Energy Conservation Center Huynh Kim Tuoc, solar energy can be used in various applications but lighting seems to be the most appropriate one for My Thanh Village in terms of local basic needs. The solar lamps are not expensive, bulky, and modern. They are technically simple, easy to use, and therefore can be widely applied. In fact, the solar lamp can light well for 3-4 years. After this initial success, the center will continue to expand the program over My Thanh village.
Before piloting at My Thanh Village, the Ho Chi Minh Energy Conservation Center has donated solar lamps to people living on Truong Sa Islands and in some hamlets in Lang Son and Lai Chau provinces./.

Author: Phuong Lan

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