Environment, Energy, CAMEROON :
Solar energy source of choice but still unaffordable to rural farmers

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BAMENDA, Cameroon - A row of solar panels tilted toward the sun form a mini power plant and an unusual sight for visitors to the small farming village of Sabongari in Cameroon’s North West Region.
The grid supplies 30 homes, three small shops and a local hotel with electricity 24 hours a day in this village of about 2000 people.

Government is encouraging citizens to use solar technologies more by providing tax and duty rebates. But the start up costs, ranging from 400 to 10,000 dollars, still make them unaffordable to the majority.

Sabongari residents were fortunate to receive international funding for their panels, with each connected household and business contributing to the cost of installation and monthly maintenance.

According to the World Bank, of the country’s estimated 20 million people, some 8.1 million live in rural areas and only 14 percent of those have access to electricity. /IPS (END//2012)

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