Lighting the rural night

For Cambodian farmer In Chanthy, illuminating the rural night used to be tiresome task. His village in Svay Rieng province is not connected to the national electricity grid and to light the dark he would have to take car batteries to a station and pay to have them recharged using diesel generators. So, he decided to do what a few other villagers had already done, install solar panels on his home. … According to a 2010 UN report, only about 40 percent of Cambodia’s 14 million people are hooked in to the electricity grid-a much lower rate than in neighboring countries. Cambodia’s Energy Ministry estimates that only about 13 percent of rural households are connected. … Despite growth of the rural solar sector, others say use of the renewable energy could be even more widespread if the government offered subsidies or financial institutions promoted solar systems with specialized loans. Solar energy, while on the rise, is still relatively low. … The government has said it wants 70 percent of the population to have access to the electric grid by 2030. … Some NGOs, like Pico Sol Cambodia, have set up training centers and conduct workshops to introduce incredulous rural communities that the rays they usually seek shelter from could actually provide a secure, clean source of power, even during the rainy season.