An estimated 1.1 billion people did not have access to electricity in 2017, while many more suffered from supply that was of poor quality1 – a crippling issue known as energy poverty. This phenomenon is described as a lack of access to clean, safe and reliable energy sources for those developing communities who are in turn negatively impacted by low energy consumption, the use of dirty fuels and excessive time spent collecting these fuels to meet basic needs.2
Kerosene is a common resource used for cooking and lighting3 in the households of many Indian, south-east Asian and African families.4 However, the health implications of this are serious, as kerosene is also a toxic fuel that emits CO2 in the form of black carbon.5 In fact, long-term exposure to kerosene is known to cause a range of health problems – from lung cancer, to pulmonary disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis and asthma.6 To put this in greater perspective, children breathing in kerosene smoke can expose their lungs to fumes the equivalent of two packets of cigarettes a day.7
However, there is one organisation dedicatedly working towards ending this devastating cycle for communities across the world: SolarBuddy, an Australian registered charity that believes children should have the right to study safely, and that renewable energy has the power to change lives and help provide future generations with the opportunity to reach their full potential.8
The organisation’s mission is simple: to provide safe, reliable and innovative solar energy solutions to marginalised communities suffering from energy poverty. That’s why SolarBuddy founded its unique education program – an initiative that connects Australian schools with developing nations across the world by successfully combining learning and education with assistance and aid.9 By purchasing and building a SolarBuddy light at school, Australian children not only learn more about the benefits of renewable energy, but also help to positively impact the lives of their international counterparts. According to SolarBuddy, for the distribution of 1.1 million lights, CO2 pollution is reduced by approximately 370 million kilograms every year.10 In addition, underprivileged family incomes not spent on dirty fuels or medical bills can instead be invested in education, business and agricultural production, effectively helping to lift these families out of poverty.11
SolarBuddy also rolled out its corporate social responsibility program to involve prominent Australian corporations in the initiative. By also purchasing and building SolarBuddy lights, businesses have the ability to help raise awareness of energy poverty and build further scale for the program.12
At New Energy Solar, our team is proud to partner with an organisation dedicated to furthering the understanding of Australians about this important issue to help enhance the wellbeing of developing communities across the world. We look forward to continuing our support of SolarBuddy’s initiatives as it works to bring much-needed light to communities and children in need.
Want to know more? Visit SolarBuddy’s website for more information about how the charity works to raise awareness of energy poverty. Alternatively, to learn more about renewable energy and sustainable investments, subscribe to the New Energy Solar newsletter today.