Security and service

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

JANJA, Rwanda—Northland Controls, a systems integrator based in Fremont, Calif.,  is helping to bring electricity to a part of Rwanda that is off the grid. It's also kickstarting a self-sustaining local business that will bring clean energy, jobs and opportunity to this community.

Working with San Francisco-based Firelight Foundation, Inkoramutima, an association of local Rwanda business and community leader, and Dassy, a solar-power installation company, Northland is funding the installation of solar panels for 100 homes, a community center and a school.

The solar-powered lights will take the place of kerosene lamps, which have toxic emissions and are a fire hazard.

During the Northland Challenge, which took place here in October, a group of Northland Controls' employees helped install solar panels that provide light to the Kivune Primary School in Janja Province, Rwanda. Click here to read about the Northland Challenge.

Importantly, the solar panel projects are designed to be a self-sustaining enterprise that will continue to bring electricity, jobs and opportunity to the community.

This is the way it works: Dassy installs solar panels in 100 homes that currently use kerosene for power. Those families pay Dassy a monthly fee equal to what they would have paid monthly for kerosene.

After a certain period of time, the Dassy will be able to install more panels in more homes, continuing to build an account base and recurring monthly revenue. It’s similar to the alarm monitoring business model.

Hundreds of friends, family members and business colleagues helped Northland Controls raise $48,000 for the projects.  Funds are still being accepted and “will be put to good use,” said Northland Controls CEO Pierre Trapanese.

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