Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Solar panel trade

Grandpa Esteban and Grandma Rosa have never had lights in their house. During our last visit, 2 years ago, we agreed to bring a photovoltaic panel and accessories to trade for their textiles. Part of the trade includes blessing the panel:
We brought many Western guests for this trade: Madrinas Sue and Nancy visiting from the US and two anthropologists studying the effects of tourism in the area, Jakob from Denmark and Sophie from Holland. Jakob and Sophie had another appointment and tried to escape before lunch, but Esteban insisted and then brought Rosa to convince them, apologizing that it was late since their daughter had been sining in the Easter sing until after 2:00am the night before. Sophie said, "I can't refuse." They stayed for lunch, cooked in the old smoky kitchen:
Rosa will have a new LED efficent light in her new kitchen (the chimney is already installed above a beautiful wood cooking area with outside air intake!)

After lunch the Western guests left, and the locals started preparing for the installation, twisting wire and laughing:

We even had another coca leaf ceremony with beer and coca cola:

In the end everyone was happy. We traded a 40 watt PV panel, regulator, battery, 1 florescent tube and 2 excellent LED lights for a black woman's poncho and manta, alpaca and wool, plus a big potato sack and a coca purse--everything handspun and hand woven.
Think: getting your very first light, and the second and third. It doesn't compare to getting your 10th or 50th--it changes your life, makes it easier. No candle flame knocked out by a moth while you cook.


  1. I can't imagine, Earth hour (with no lights) is hard enough. I still get excited to screw in my 12th LED though!

  2. Hi, I am new to "solar energy" and am interested in knowing if anyone installed solar panels and if they are really cost effective?