Remote Energy Partners with Expanding Lives to Teach Solar to Young Women from Niger & Benin


As part of their women’s program, Remote Energy is partnering with Expanding Lives to offer a 2-day class on small DC Lighting Systems for young women from Benin and Niger. Expanding Lives empowers young women in West Africa to be leaders in their communities. Each year their scholars attend a six-week conference in Chicago and then return home to complete their education and serve as role models for their peers and communities. Expanding Lives provides financial and mentoring aide to these young women to complete high school, university, and graduate studies in regions where the numbers of women in school are less than 10 percent.

This year, Carol Weis from Remote Energy received the NABCEP Walt Ratterman Award, and the funds raised from NABCEP and the attendees will be donated to this project. The project still needs $1,300 to cover equipment and training costs to send a system home with the girls. This small demonstration system is to be used in a classroom where students can study and have access to a chalkboard.

Expanding Lives’ participants from Niger are from rural high schools in regions where electricity is scarce or non-existent.  The solar suitcase will be used in Tchadoua, Niger, whose high school serving 2400 + students, is without electricity or water. Providing a solar suitcase will enable evening studies in a classroom, especially important for those in the exam year. It will also allow for professional development courses for teachers who are often untrained. The Remote Energy proposal will not only inform rural students about possibilities about alternative energy but allow them practical experience in building and maintaining a solar battery system. Since solar electricity in urban areas of Niger is of growing interest, the young women will be able to tap into and possibly support this small network.

Carol is using this pilot collaboration as a chance to teach her first solar class in French. She will be aided by Expanding Lives Executive Director and French teacher Leslie Natzke and a few of Leslie’s French students. If you would like to make a donation to support this project, please visit our donations page.