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Projects in Zambia

7 projects completed


As part of OpenSolar's recent announcement to commit 1% of their annual revenue to Empowered by Light, we provided solar-powered water pumping, storage and irrigation systems for two communities in the Luangwa District of Zambia. Both Undi and Chutika previously had no access to electricity which profoundly limits people’s quality of life.  Community members had to collect and haul water in buckets from the river in order to irrigate their crops and for drinking, cooking and sanitation, which greatly restricted their ability to successfully grow vegetables and a wide variety of crops and increased the likelihood of dangerous--sometimes deadly, interactions with elephants, crocodiles and hippos. 

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We recently funded a solar-powered water pumping, storage and irrigation system for Mulunda Village in the Luangwa District of Zambia with our local partner, Conservation Lower Zambezi. The system now supports approximately 130 households spread between three communities--Nyakwindi, Mulunda and Tandwe (including two schools), and it’s empowering a group of 20 women to grow vegetables on a sustainable and commercial basis to feed their communities. 


Producing ample food for the district will reduce the need for people to travel to other towns for food, help alleviate poverty, reduce poaching and improve the livelihoods of many. Another benefit of the water system is that it will reduce occurrences of dangerous and sometimes deadly run-ins with crocodiles and hippos since the women no longer need to draw and haul water directly from the Luangwa River using buckets.



We recently installed solar and energy storage for Kabula Primary School located in a very poor and remote region of Western Zambia. Kabula is one of the first places we visited when Empowered by Light came into existence. The community had no access to electricity and would likely never be connected to the country's electrical grid. We also purchased solar energy systems with high-efficiency appliances for each of Kabula's teachers. We know having access to energy will help the students do better in school, and will hopefully improve teacher retention rates.

Parker, a young woman in Illinois, raised significant funding for this project. You can learn more about this Rising Star here.

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Empowered by Light began its work in Zambia. We started by distributing solar-powered LED lights to schools in the remote Western Province, and in 2013 we started building solar microgrids. We continue to be inspired by the students, villagers and professionals we work with throughout Zambia, who are lighting the way to a better future for themselves and the planet. Our projects have been recognized by the United Nations Head of Climate Change and the Zambian Ministry of Education.



Imagine running a school without power or running water. Zambia’s Mugarameno Basic School, in the wildlife-rich Chiawa Game Management Area, serves 600 students from seven villages. Empowered by Light installed a micro grid that provides free electricity to the school and sells the excess power that’s generated to community members. The revenue generated by the power sales offsets the costs of maintaining and operating the system.

We recently partnered with a South African start-up company to replace some of the degraded lead-acid batteries in the original energy storage system with repurposed electric bus batteries. We're excited to give used batteries a second life and look forward to providing an update soon!




At Conservation Lower Zambezi — an organization providing environmental education for schools in the region, and training for potential safari and tour guides — Empowered by Light installed a 10kW solar system that replaced dirty diesel power, saving the center thousands of dollars in annual fuel costs.


At Sioma High School, exam pass rates jumped 89% in the first year after Empowered by Light installed a 24kW solar system with battery storage for the campus, which is comprised of nearly 30 buildings. The system provides clean, quiet, reliable power to the classrooms, dormitories, and other campus buildings.

Inspired by our work in Zambia? A simple share on social media will help spread the word and perhaps find new supporters. Or you can donate now to help create more projects like these.

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