The Foundation Solar Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing renewable energy solutions to underdeveloped regions of the world. To find out more about Solar Hope and what we are doing to support renewable energy in the developing world, please review our Mission, our Vision, and How We are Different.
We believe that while it may appear more important to offer humanitarian aid in the form of food and medical assistance, the ability to generate energy has become more critical. There is less need for outside-supplied food and medicine if the energy needed to cultivate and store food or care for community members in more modern medical facilities is available. Historically, energy has been the driving force for all major shifts in human development, including the Industrial Revolution. Providing communities in underdeveloped regions the means to establish independence and putting them on track towards a sustainable lifestyle could ultimately further accelerate the wheels of progress and spark worldwide political, social, and economic prosperity.
The Foundation SOLAR HOPE aspires to create a giant humanitarian effort to bring renewable energy to underdeveloped regions of the world.
The Foundation Solar Hope will strategically partner with universities in the U.S. and other developed countries, as well as with local government agencies in underdeveloped countries of the world to bring renewable energy to schools, hospitals, and similar institutions in rural areas.
The Foundation Solar Hope aims to reach the goal of installing 5 MW of renewable power in Africa by 2035 through a substantial humanitarian effort, with an immediate goal of adding 1 MW of solar power to Tanzania and Gambia by 2023.
The vision of Solar Hope is to provide 5 MW of power to Africa through charitable donations in the next 15 years. The projects will be implemented in rural areas without access to electrical grids, as well as at schools, hospitals, and orphanages that have access only to unreliable grid power. The criteria for selecting facilities will be based on the nature of the institution and number of people served.
Beginning in 2010, 120 projects have been completed in Tanzania. Our continuing goal is to deliver 1 MW of power to people in need every three years. This is an ambitious goal since the power capacity for the whole country of Tanzania is currently just below 1 GW. Using a simplified calculation and estimating that an average facility such as school or hospital has 250 W power requirements, the goal is to provide electricity to 4,000 schools, hospitals, and orphanages.
The Foundation Solar Hope will initially utilize all possible means of attracting donations for its projects. The primary focus will be to contact government officials, private donors, and corporate sponsors and invite them to participate in this effort. The best way to be successful in this process is to have the backing of the local governments, to insure the approval and support from the highest levels.
Slobodan Petrovic, PhD
Professor of Engineering & Electrochemistry at Oregon Institute of Technology
Dr. Mark Clark
Professor of History at Oregon Institute of Technology
Manager & Senior Associate Accountant at PwC
Lead Product Applications Engineer at Eaton
Board Secretary, Web Design
Managing Director at Green Choice Farms
How we are Different
Solar Hope has an established record of providing humanitarian assistance without the drawbacks typical of international development projects, including: the potential for mismanagement of funds, large overhead, the use of humanitarian projects to set up private businesses and capture future markets in-country, the selling of products or services that have been donated, and operating charities as free-market enterprises in the developing world.
While there are certainly honorable exceptions not subject to the above list of problems, even a cursory survey of intended beneficiaries in the developing countries often reveals a deep mistrust of NGOs (Non-governmental organizations), their intentions, and an absence of any hope that real help could come from NGOs or that lives of unprivileged people will improve as a result of foreign aid. Some NGOs have chosen to engage in practices contrary to humanitarian and ethical principles with little, if any, regard for the true well-being of those they are designed to help. Sadly, the business of NGOs has become one of focusing on the bottom line and their employees often forget why they joined the organization in the first place. Books have even been written to justify such behaviors and rationalize the need for a free-market enterprise concept in international development, typically resulting in charging to deliver humanitarian aid. This not only violates the meaning of the term ‘humanitarian aid’, but it easily creates bad reputations for these once noble efforts. These and other behaviors are directly and irrevocably destroying the trust of people in developing nations and contributing to their resignation to poverty and cynicism about the motives of industrialized countries.
In contrast, Solar Hope intends to use a minimum of 75% of donated funds directly for projects in developing nations. Projects will be implemented using volunteers for project planning in the U.S. and for the solar PV installations in the developing countries. A pool of volunteers will be available from students in the renewable energy engineering program at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Portland, Oregon or studying in a related field at other universities to participate in solar PV installations. Through this unique combination of humanitarian energy dissemination and renewable energy engineering education, Solar Hope plans to achieve extremely efficient operation and direct a high portion of funding to those in need. Furthermore, Solar Hope pledges to never participate in unethical behavior, such as selling products to populations in need instead of simply serving as an intermediary between donors and recipients.