Pedal power brings cheap energy to rural Rwanda
19 March 2012
Times Colonist - March 17, 2012
BUGESERA DISTRICT, Rwanda — The lights Daniel Ntibaziyandemye uses for his nocturnal fishing trips are charged by pedal-powered generators that offer an affordable means of creating energy, even for the poor.
The small generator, which stands knee-high inside a wooden frame, is operated by what looks like a recumbent exercise bike and charges batteries for small but bright light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. The light created is cheaper and more efficient than solar power.
"Previously we used torches to find our traps at night," said Ntibaziyandemye, aged 28, who fishes at night on the remote crocodile-infested Akanyaru river.
"But the batteries were so expensive that it left us with little profit. Now with the new LED lights, we can fish for a week for less money than it used to cost for one night."