APSL Solar Village concept developed by one of the APSL past Presidents, Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa, focuses on the rural communities who are off the national grid or cannot afford commercially available alternatives, and trapped in poverty due to various reasons. In such a typical community, lighting comes from kerosene lamps and cooking is done with firewood. The project is developed so that rural communities will learn to help themselves in meeting their energy needs.
The design of the project ensures that credible leaders in the community (led by the educationists) will create the Centres for Application of Renewable Energy Sources (CARES), which will enable target householders to gain access to energy services at an affordable price. The project also aims to begin with a small number of households and to grow the number with their own contributions. A CARES scholarship programme for village children will be established from the growing revolving fund to support the development of people in the area. In addition, various development projects and activities to improve the environment depending on the geography, climate and the livelihood of people will be introduced.
The project can be modified according to the requirements of the community and the promoters will act as advisors to the project. One important aspect that is built into the project is regular monitoring, evaluation and wide publicity for encouraging it’s replication.
This is a project to assist people to help themselves and to catalyse the eradication of poverty through rural economic development. Currently, these marginalised rural households are condemned to a perpetuation of their poverty. Not having access to basic lighting, information, and entertainment denies them opportunities. Poor lighting makes it difficult for children to study at night, the effects of kerosene fumes and the kerosene lamp fire risks are detrimental for their health and safety, and overall the quality of life is very bleak.
Team Leader – Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa
The first stage of a large solar village project at Nochchiya village-cluster situated in the Kurunegala district, Sri Lanka, was established in January 2017, with the installation of two solar power systems, each funded by UK registered charities – The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) and Hela Sarana.