From kerosene lamps to solar power: transformation of Samville

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
A solar panel on a home in Samville

When 59-year-old ‘Amanda’ moved into the community of Samville in March of 2014, there was no electricity there. The single mother of six had decided to move into her own house, leaving a tenuous temporary situation in the nearby community of Kuru-Kururu, just off the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.

“Gyul, when I fuss come hay, de chirren had to study with kero lamp,” Amanda told this publication.

Another resident stated that when she moved to the village in 2009, the place was “bare bush”, and everyone started to clear their part. As time went by, she stated, more persons came to live there, and the area became more populated.

Samville is a small residential area consisting of approximately two hundred persons. It supposedly got its name from one of the first residents, Sammy, who has lived there since its inception. The community, however, received electricity only in 2015, and not by integration into the national grid, but via the provision of solar panels.

59-year-old ‘Amanda’ stated that when she moved there, her household and those of other residents were relying on lamps as their primary source of light at the time.

This, however, changed in early 2015 after the distribution of solar panel systems to the community. The package, distributed by the PPP/C Administration, consisted of one 65Watt solar panel; one solar power GEL battery, two Edison screw light bulbs and bulb sockets, and a switchboard with attached solar power-charging systems. Packages were distributed one per household to everyone living there at the time.

Transitioning from kerosene lamps to solar panels was very impactful, as residents were now able to do more to ensure the comfort of their families, and not just survive on their basic needs. They were then afforded the use of electrical appliances such as fridges, TVs and microwaves, and had access to WI-FI systems and more, enabling residents to live more comfortably.

The lives of their children have also been improved, and they can now access proper information from researching the web for school projects, assignments, SBAs, and even homework. And they can now study under the comfort of an electric bulb, which reduces strain on the eye and is more convenient at night.

Solar power is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy. Its technologies can harness this energy for the generation of electricity, providing light and a lot more. Photovoltaics, one of the three ways to harness solar power, generates electricity directly from the sun via an electronic process, and that electricity is then used to power anything, from small electronics to homes and even large commercial businesses.

Today the appliances of most residents of the community are still powered by solar system-generated electricity, whereas other residents who moved there following said distribution use generators to assist.