While the developed world looks to renewable energy sources to curb its exorbitant emissions, rural communities in East Africa, too far off the grid for conventional electricity, are using these sources to get electrical power for the first time.
In Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, and other African countries, small-scale renewable-energy systems are making a difference for people who live in rural places. A family can buy a single solar-panel system for about $80, letting children study longer, entrepreneurs start businesses, and neighbors charge cell phones.
As things are now, these energy sources are scattered and used only by single families or villages willing and able to pay for the systems. However, there's lots of potential for clean energy to power remote regions, and to get them off wood, charcoal, and kerosene.