April 22-26, 2019: Bringing solar to the families of San Fernando island, Nicaragua

This April, GRID Alternatives traveled to the remote island of San Fernando with local Nicaraguan participants to install solar home systems on ten local families' homes. The solar home systems allow families to now light their home for the first time with clean, renewable electricity, replacing the use of harmful and dangerous kerosene lanterns and candles.

Boats floating alongside a dock on the shore of San Fernando island
The Solentiname Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands located at the southern end of Lake Nicaragua, in the Nicaraguan department of Río San Juan. The archipelago is made up of 32 smaller islands and four larger islands, each about a few kilometres across, one of which is San Fernando island.

The natural beauty of the San Fernando island sometimes runs in constrast to the challenges faced in the community, where a lack of potable water, energy access and job opportunities can affect the quality of everyday life. Many families make their income working in agriculture or creating colorful handmade art in "taba" wood. Without access to electricity, families typically light their homes using flashlights or kerosene lamps and candles, which poses both safety and health risks.

Two local women paint handmade wooden crafts
Local women paint handmade crafts made from taba wood

With the installation of ten solar home system, families now have access to a clean, reliable source of energy for the first time, providing power to charge electronics and a safe and healthy means of lighting their homes to study and do other activities at night. GRID staff installed the systems with local Nicaraguan participants interested in learning about solar PV installation. Participants gained practical, hands-on training, learning the process of installing the solar home systems from start to finish. 

Two GRID participants work together to install the breaker box
GRID participants gain hands-on skills, learning the process of off-grid solar home system installation from start to finish

See photos from the installation!

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