San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) June 22, 2012
Sustainability supporters, Silicon Valley and celebrities alike came together Thursday night June 21 to bask in the glow of Empowered by Light, a Bay Area-based nonprofit organization that brings renewable energy technologies to developing countries.
A cocktail reception co-hosted by Oscar-nominated actor and director Mark Ruffalo (“The Hulk” in the recently released THE AVENGERS) was held at Roe in San Francisco in support of Empowered By Light’s latest project, Solar: ZAMBIA, which is delivering solar-powered LED light/cell phone charge kits to rural Zambian families who do not have electric power.
“I support Empowered by Light because they are bringing light and renewable energy to those who don’t yet have it, and they’re teaching whole nations that we don’t need fossil fuels to be modern,” said Ruffalo.
Empowered by Light was founded in 2011 by Marco Krapels, Moira Hanes and Gianluca Signorelli to improve lives through clean technology. Empowered by Light’s Solar: ZAMBIA project aims to help rural Zambian children improve their studies and overall school performance, while eliminating the hazards of fire, burn, and respiratory disease caused by open-flame kerosene lamps and diesel.
An estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity. Providing access to power has proven to be enormously beneficial to people’s education, health, and livelihood.
Empowered by Light delivered more than 1000 solar-powered lights in 2011, and Krapels recently returned from Zambia after a successful deployment of another 1000 kits. The Ministry of Education in Zambia recently informed Empowered by Light that school children using the organization’s lights showed dramatic improvements in last fall’s test scores, with scores rising by as much as 236 percent.
“During our last deployment, we saw first-hand the incredible impact our lights are having,” said Krapels. “It’s richly rewarding to think that tonight, 8,000 children in rural Zambia are reading because of our efforts, where previously they would have been in total darkness.”
Also at the event, Krapels announced the organization’s plans to install a solar micro-grid system for Sioma High School in the district where lights have been deployed. The 24kW system, designed by Powerhive, would provide clean power to 25 teacher homes, 7 dormitories and 8 classrooms used by over 500 students. The system’s cost of over $100,000 will be partially offset by the donation of 24kW of solar panels by solar panel manufacturer Suntech, the world’s largest producer of solar panels, whose contribution was announced at yesterday evening’s event.
“We’re proud to support Empowered by Light in bringing clean power to some of those who need it most,” said John Lefebvre, President of Suntech America. “Empowering schools with reliable solar technology dramatically improves the lives of students today and for generations to come. This project represents another step in our mission to provide everyone with access to the sun’s energy.”
Empowered by Light was presented with a $40,000 check from Andrew Birch, the CEO of the Oakland-based, residential solar company Sungevity. The check represents the amount of money raised through Sungevity’s “Every Child Has a Light” program, which launched last Fall in partnership with Empowered by Light.
There is a universal need for electricity but a fundamental lack of access and, grids are expensive and difficult to build in rural areas,” said Andrew Birch, Sungevity’s Chief Executive Officer. “Empowered by Light is making a difference in rural Zambia and we are proud to be making a difference with them.”
Sponsors of the event included Rabobank, the Clif Bar Family Foundation and Suntech. Partners included Global Green USA, Sungevity, SHFT and Baird Holm. Guests enjoyed drinks provided by VeeV Acai Spirit and eco.love Wines.
In addition to Hanes and Krapels, the host committee included Patrick Crane, David Gottfried, Danny Kennedy, Warner Philips and Nadine Weil.
Empowered by Light is based in Larkspur. For more information, visit http://www.empoweredbylight.org.