Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Viridian Energy Brings Light to African Villages Through Sustainable Energy Project


NORWALK, Conn.--(Solar Energy News)--According to the United Nations Group on Energy and Climate Change, 1.5 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity, and one billion more have access to only unreliable electricity. With these statistics in mind, Viridian Energy, a leading provider of affordable, green retail energy, traveled to Ghana to complete year two of their seven year initiative, ‘7 Continents in 7 Years’. For year two, completed February 28, 2012, Viridian Associates partnered with World Joy and Empower Playgrounds to provide sustainable energy to the Atiwa District, specifically in the villages of Asonafo, Abrenya and Wekpeti, in Ghana, West Africa.

Viridian sent 34 independent sales associates and corporate team members to install solar panels on schools, health posts and community libraries in the rural villages. In the villages of Abrenya and Wepeti, Viridian associates installed solar panels that enabled the schools to implement lantern checkout systems, giving students an opportunity to study by lamplight in the comfort of their own home. For most children the lanterns were the first lights the children had ever seen inside their home after the sun had gone down. Also in the villages of Abrenya and Wepeti, Viridian associates installed merry-go-rounds on the school playgrounds that generate electricity for the schools.

“What a remarkable and joyful thing it was, to witness light in a home after dark where none had existed before,” said Cami Boehme, Viridian VP of Marketing and Brand Communications. “I do not know what was brighter, the light in the eyes of the parents and children, or the light of the lanterns! Abrenya, until only two months ago, did not even have a road leading to it, one had to walk to it by foot, and the nearest road was an hour and a half away. Being a part of the Viridian team that brought lanterns for the students, installed merry-go-rounds on the schools’ playgrounds, and introduced sustainable energy to the villagers made me grateful to work for a company who is ready and willing to meet the energy needs of other countries.”

In Asonafo, Viridian Associates installed solar panels on the community library and the new health post. Before the installation of the panels the power for the building was supplied from an unreliable power grid that would work in sporadic frequencies. This meant that refrigeration was not available in this remote area, and therefore important pharmaceuticals could not be stored. The solar panels now allow the health post to have consistently running refrigerators to store life-saving pharmaceuticals which were previously only accessible in urban pharmacies long distances away.

“Year two of our ‘7 Continents in 7 Years’ initiative was eye-opening,” said Michael Fallquist, Founder and CEO of Viridian. “After installing the solar panels and speaking with the people in the villages in which we worked, we came to the that the panels not only provided sustainable energy to a remote community, but access to reliable, sustainable power transformed the residents’ lives and reshaped their futures. To be in such a position to help these communities renewed our dedication to our core mission: promoting and furthering global sustainability. We are excited to begin planning year three of our seven year initiative.”

To ensure that the project is sustainable, Viridian associates helped educate the residents on how to maintain the new equipment. In addition, World Joy will periodically visit the villages to help maintain the solar panels.

Viridian Energy’s ‘7 Continents in 7 years’ initiative is to undertake a major sustainability project on each of the seven continents over a period of seven years, and serves as the global component of the company’s sustainability initiative, ‘Local Change, Global Impact’. Year one, Viridian Associates traveled to Brazil to replant trees in deforested areas of the Amazon.

To learn more about Viridian Energy and its sustainability initiatives, including ‘7 Continents in 7 Years,’ please visit www.viridian.com.

About Viridian Energy

Viridian Energy is a socially-responsible retail energy supplier that provides natural gas and greener electricity at an affordable price. The company services commercial and residential electricity customers in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania with energy derived from renewable sources. In all of its markets, Viridian offers consumers discounted electricity rates that comply with a higher renewable energy content standard. Located in Norwalk, Conn., Viridian was founded with the vision to empower its customers to make a significant collective impact through a relatively small individual choice simply by switching energy providers.