IDEAS For Us meets with Facebook, SunFarmer and SunEdison to discuss partnership for Energy Access in Africa

“Over the past 4 months, IDEAS leaders have been working to develop a new program to solve one of the most important challenges: Energy Access.

According to USAID, two out of three sub-Saharan Africans – 600 million people – lack access to electricity. In Africa, IDEAS is currently operating throughout Cape Verde, Benin, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, and groups on the rise in S. Sudan, Rwanda, and others. As these chapters continue to educate, engage and empower people of all ages with sustainable solutions, it’s only appropriate that we formalize our commitment towards increasing their energy access.

Because of this, Justin Vandenbroeck has been leading the charge on developing a new program called “IDEAS For Energy Access”, focused on developing a cross-functional initiative within the IDEAS Movement on a mission to support community-driven energy access development projects with market-driven, scalable, sustainable solutions.

In August 2014, IDEAS For Uganda, led by Masereka Addidas and Sinamakosa Isaac, mobilized their network of over 20 chapters to begin gathering initial solar sight assessments and pictures of rooftops and potential ground-mounted solar PV arrays throughout medical clinics, schools and communities centers.
Uganda Survey Data: Pilot Phase
In less than 4 months, the Uganda teams collected over 300 potential solar PV sites, with surveys and pictures of each location; an amazing accomplishment for any organization, let alone one completely ran by volunteers.

SunEdison and Facebook meetingThis brings me to the exciting meeting 2 weeks ago. On Friday, November 7th, IDEAS leaders Chris Castro and Justin Vandenbroeck scheduled a meeting at the SunEdison offices in San Francisco with some major players in the energy space, including Brandon Middaugh, Chief of Staff for SunEdison, Lyrica McTiernan and the Chief Sustainability Officer for Facebook, Bill Weihl!

The meeting was an introduction to IDEAS For Us, and the work IDEAS has been doing in Uganda to gather solar sight assessments for medical clinics, schools and community centers, and explore the ability for all parties to leverage our strengths and expertise to help expand solar and internet connectivity in Uganda.

In short, this is the beginning of a long-standing partnership, that could bring together some of the biggest organizations and companies in the World to achieve the goal of energy access for those in need. IDEAS is not only excited for this opportunity, but ready to turn this idea into a solution to solve an environmental crisis.

Keep a look out for more updates about this in the coming weeks!”

– Chris Castro & Justin Vandenbroeck