The Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) is a non-profit with the goal of helping to bring solar electrification to rural communities by promoting solar technologies, developing solar systems with local residents to meet their needs -- from medical to agriculture to economic -- and by facilitating the installation of the systems and training residents to maintain the solar systems, with possibilities for entrepreneurship.
Founded in 1990, SELF's first project was in 1991 with the UNDP/GEF Zimbabwe Solar Project for Rural Household and Community Use for the Global Environment Facility. The project has since expanded to include 9,000 households, and spawned dozens of small solar enterprises. In 2000, SELF branched out to other projects, including powering health clinics, water pumps, and drip irrigation systems.
SPIE spoke with Bob Freling, executive director of SELF, in Fall 2008.
SELF participants install solar panels in Africa.