Solar Power Project

The purpose of delivering solar lighting to Dwankhozi Basic School is to give teachers more time to prepare for classes and students more time to study as well as provide adult literacy classes in the evening. Currently there is no electricity in the area and limited lighting both in the school and in homes. Days are shorter in Zambia and it typically gets dark between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. As a result, teachers have less ability to prepare in the evening and students are often unable to study for their classes or do homework. Solar power has the ability to make a large impact on this community – school buildings can stay lit after dark and a number of lights can be placed in surrounding villages. Expanded solar power has the potential to:

  • Provide increased access to laptops for  teachers in order help them improve lesson plans and add to curriculum development.
  • Power a refrigerator to store critical medicines and vaccines, to be distributor by locally trained first line medical providers, to address life threatening illnesses that are common in the community (Malaria, Schistosomiasis, Measles, TB, etc., as well as diagnostic tools to test for these illnesses).
  • Provide lighting that would allow extra time for students to study in the evening.
  • Extend the school’s operational hours to include adult education classes in the evenings.

The first phase of this project was to purchase lights solely for the school building in order to test the product and evaluate how these lights would be adopted by the school. Our team delivered 10 D-Light S250 lights at $50 per unit. These lights have proven effective in enhancing the productivity of the teachers. For the second phase of the project, we installed a solar panel system for one of the classrooms. One of our outside partners, Jeff Olshesky from Beyond Solar (, traveled to the school in 2011 to deliver and install these solar panels.

This project was made possible by a group of donors in Chicago that came together in Chicago to form a solar committee. This committee is made up of John Vlahavas, Jeff Chou, Andy Clark, Rakesh Khana, and Chris Kenessey. All five are previous Dwankhozi donors. Their desire is to see solar lighting available not only to the Dwankhonzi school building but also to the student and teacher homes.