Café Lumière is a multi-services energy platform, mainly powered by solar energy, located in the center of the village. People visit this place to recharge a portable lamp for the price of a candle, while someone arrives to plug in their mobile phone. A farmer, who lives a little further away, brings his batteries every four days. He uses them to run several of his machines. There are many people coming to the establishment in search of electricity at prices adapted to budget of each family. But there is more to it, the solar panels also supply energy to some local businesses and public buildings (including school and the small hospital). Which, very recently, provide street lighting. For the inhabitants of the area, the Café Lumière project is a small miracle.
The fact is that in the great island of the Indian Ocean only 15% of the population has access to electricity. Isolated rural areas cannot afford a conventional electrification system because it is too expensive. This hinders their economic development and business productivity but also their human development (comfort of life, health conditions, education). Is there a way to break this vicious circle?
Electriciens sans frontières put forward the innovative formula as a result of its many years of experience. It is considered innovative because it is based on clean energy and promotes joint work. It is the consequence of the joint efforts of local authorities, international cooperation, and the private local sector. In this way, the small isolated rural photovoltaic power station complies to the public needs. Also, by selling the energy at a reasonable price to both citizens and local companies, it ensures the economic sustainability of the project and its operation in the long term.
The Café Lumière Solution won the “Empower a Billion Lives Africa” prize.
Photo: Electriciens sans frontières