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Yingli Green Energy Joins SolarAid to Spread Light for Learning in Africa
by Staff Writers
Baoding, China (SPX) May 29, 2013

File image.

Yingli Green Energy, Solar Roof Systems, Kingspan and Atama Solar Energy have announced that together they have raised a total of 24,000 Euro for SolarAid, the London based charity using solar power to help education in Africa. The fundraising will support SolarAid's 'Lighter Learning' programme to improve the education of children in Africa by providing lighting for classrooms in 12 schools across Zambia.

Only 9% of rural sub-Saharan dwellers in Africa have access to electricity, with the average family of the remaining 91% of the population spending up to 25% of their income on toxic kerosene for lighting. SolarAid's aim is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020 and to provide clean light in every home in Africa, improving the health, education and wealth of Africa's 110 million households without access to electricity.

SolarAid does not give solar lights away, but sells them to help create a market for solar and maintains them to ensure communities value them. Using micro-solar systems, the cost of SolarAid's procuring, installing and promoting lighting kits for a school is just EUR 2,000; the solar lighting lengthens learning hours, improves education quality and reduces reliance on expensive and toxic kerosene lamps.

SolarAid also promotes the benefit of solar lamps through schools. Children tell their parents who are then convinced to buy a light to help their child to study. Demand for solar lights is rising dramatically. A total of 294,033 solar lights were funded and distributed by SolarAid in 2012 and the organization is aiming to make it a million in 2013.

SolarAid's 'Lighter Learning' initiative enables companies and schools to fund and partner with specific schools in Africa to provide classroom lighting and get study lights into the hands of teachers and pupils through school campaigns.

From early research in Tanzania by SolarAid, solar study lights are leading to children studying an extra hour each evening.

"It is our great pleasure to support SolarAid's 'Lighter Learning' programme. Solar lights essentially extend the time for study and improve education for many young people. SolarAid is part of our commitment to positive social and environmental change. We seek to improve and give back to disadvantaged and underserved communities worldwide through joined efforts", said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy.

"Solar has a crucial role to play in the developing world where countless communities are trapped by kerosene and in a cycle of perpetual poverty. The work SolarAid is doing is literally making a life changing difference to these communities and the children within them. Supporting this incredible work is a great way to further inform about the positive difference solar can make and our commitment to helping communities across Africa in these benefits", said Darren Thompson, Managing Director of Yingli Green Energy International AG.

Working with SolarAid, Yingli Green Energy initiated a charity event whereby a small group of its employees would dedicate a day of their time to educate children about solar energy and SolarAid at a German school in Flensburg. Yingli Green Energy called its customers for donations via an auction during its global customer conference in October 2012.

The winning bidder was Solar Roof Systems based in Germany, however Atama Solar Energy from the Netherlands and Kingspan from the U.K. also decided to donate their bids. 12,000 Euro were donated in total and Yingli Green Energy matched that amount, thereby raising a total of 24,000 Euro for SolarAid. With this amount, 12 schools in Zambia had solar PV micro-systems installed on their roofs to allow classes to continue into the evening thereby extending education time for nearly 5,000 children.

Solar Roof Systems not only donated money to SolarAid but also donated a 10kW-PV-system powered by Yingli Solar modules to a school in Flensburg where 50% of the cash flows generated will be donated to projects in Africa. The solar modules were mounted in April 2013. During the installation, a team of four Yingli Green Energy employees attended the school to educate the pupils on solar and how solar can help kids in Africa.

"It is about giving back and we are delighted to support this important initiative", said Jorg Truelsen, CEO of Solar Roof Systems, whose winning auction bid funded 3 schools.

"When a leading group of companies with passion for renewable energy get together to enable SolarAid to provide lighting for children and schools, it helps send a message that solar energy really does transform lives. It is incredibly simple for businesses to get involved and see the very real health, education and wealth benefits of their donations through bringing solar lighting into the lives of children. We are incredibly grateful for the vision and generosity shown by Yingli Green Energy, Solar Roof Systems, Kingspan and Atama Solar Energy and we are excited about attracting support from the renewable energy industry for our ambitious work ahead", said Richard Turner, Director of Fundraising at SolarAid.


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