There is a school in Nicaragua that buys brooms, hand towels, and soap with funds raised from showing adult movies. But it’s not what you may think. This is not an exchange of dirty for clean. The movies are for adults, but not in the sense that they have racy content. The school, El Zapote, is in Chontales, Nicaragua and serves 53 students. In 2006, a Tecnosol photovoltaic system was installed and it now powers 20 lights, one television, one DVD player, and two stereos. Teacher Meylin Sandoval says she uses the TV and DVD player to teach an interactive math class. The stereos are used to teach music lessons, or sometimes just for the fun of dancing and singing. The new lights have allowed for the opening of a night school for illiterate elderly members of the community to learn to read and write. Tecnosol, with $1.3 million in investment from E+Co, has grown from one small office to twelve branch offices in rural communities in Nicaragua. Through clients like El Zapote, Tecnosol displaces more than 2,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. With generous donations and investments, E+Co supports hundreds of clean energy businesses like Tecnosol in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Once a month, the school shows a movie for the “grown-ups”. Most of the adults in the town come to what has become a big social event and they are charged a small entrance fee. This money is then used to buy the cleaning products for the school. The school had no access to electricity before the panels were installed and the power has improved and expanded the school’s curriculum. Connection to the local grid, if possible, would have been too expensive in addition to adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from the traditional fuel fired plants in the area.