Monday, August 12, 2013

Out of Darkness:

Solar power sheds a little light on powerless communities
11 August 2013 - Anna Begay lives on a remote plot of land in the Navajo reservation. To reach her home, you drive through twisting, unmarked trails of dust and mud along the edge of Coalmine Canyon, in northwest Arizona.

A grandmother in her late 80s, Begay lives alone in a traditional, eight-sided house called a hogan. She raises sheep with the help of a nephew and a couple of fast sheepdogs. When the dogs bark, it’s the only sound you will hear for miles.

This far out, it’s too expensive to connect her home to the electric grid. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have electricity.

When the sun sets she can switch on a solar-powered battery to light up her room. The solar panel was installed last spring, and now she wants to get more of them to light her way from the front of her door to the outhouse, about 200 feet away.

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"Without having the light, I couldn’t see," Begay said through a translator — she speaks only Navajo. "It got really, really dark and I would be running into things, bumping into things. It did help to have the moon. Sometimes, when the moon’s out, that would illuminate the way for me." read more>>>

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