Why do nomads need solar power when they don’t have houses let alone energy-guzzling modern appliances? The answer is simple: water. Wells equipped with solar-powered pumps can save the nomads thousands of hours of manual labor and produce enough water for gardens as well as herds. The foundation’s investment during the last year in training nomads how to fabricate solar panels culminated this fall with the opening of Nomad Energy with an office in Agadez selling solar panels. These panels will charge cell phones and batteries, provide power to pump water and help bring more reliable energy to an erratic national system.
Solar panels made by the nomads are pumping water to irrigate a large demonstration garden where onions and the nutritious moringa trees are cultivated and charging cell phones all over nomadic territory.
Additional training conducted this fall by Dr. Richard Komp taught the nomads how to install systems for electricity and water pumps with the panels they build. Here are their panels installed to provide electricity for the new education center at Tamesna.
They also built solar ovens for cooking and to use in an improved method of solar panel fabrication.
The nomads have been eager to learn this highly technical skill and they catch on quickly. Here they are soldering photovoltaic cells.
They are installing a system to provide lights to the school at Foudouk, where many of the students reside.
The next step will be to build a manufacturing facility at the Tamesna Center for Nomadic Life. Here nomads on the annual migration route may stop off, build some panels and earn a supplemental income without having to change their lifestyle and lose their livelihood as herders. They will have access to cheaper solar equipment than ever before, allowing them to realize two of the foundation’s major goals: income generation and better access to clean water.