solar panels shine in darkest amazon, the \'last frontier\'
In the darkest part of Amazon, Brazil, solar panels bring light ---
Can help save the rainforest.
Aurelio Souza is installing solar panels in remote villages along the Purus and Ituxi rivers in western Amazon.
\"Amazon is the last big frontier of electricity in the country,\" said a joint project consultant for the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF)
ICMBio, Brazilian environmental agency.
\"You have at least 2 million people (
Amazon in Brazil)
No modern energy.
\"Bringing power to millions of people may not sound like an obvious way to protect the world\'s largest forest, as it has been under constant pressure from lumberers and farmers.
But consider what solar panels are replacing.
In the small community of the itussi reserve west of the city of Rabiya, small-scale farmers are almost universally dependent on noisy, smoky generators for lighting and cooling ---
And often buy more fuel at a price higher than the usual price.
To keep the fish they caught in the river fresh, they also used a lot of foam plastic, another environmental threat.
\"The reduction in diesel consumption has reduced greenhouse gases and reduced community dependence on fossil fuels,\" said Souza . \".
The project was launched in July in a neighbouring nature reserve called Medio Purus, where about 6,000 people depend on fishing and family farms for their livelihood.
The noise of no generator flooded the silence of the forest night, and life has changed. -Silence -
At community schools in the Cassiana community, part of Medio Purus, the night school taught by satellite link has become more valuable as generators are no longer needed.
Francesca de Almeida, 30, said: \"We can\'t concentrate because there is not enough fuel and a lot of our classes have been canceled,\" she is in the second grade.
By the river in the Jurucua settlement, neighbors are using solar energy to run a cassava plant, while Maria Francisca de Souza, 54, is finally able to pump the river into her home.
She hopes to build the first bathroom soon.
The itussi reserve Community Association, with a population of only 600, has been connected to solar energy to run well pumps.
There is even a refrigerator for special occasions and the fuel cost is $400 per month.
These steps may be small, but innovation is the best option for Brazilians in remote communities.
Although the official national policy is to bring power to the country as a whole, \"the cost of these places is very high,\" Souza said . \".
For Irismar Duarte, vice president of the Ituxi Association, solar panels have opened the door to more progress.
\"Everyone is looking for innovative ways and people are adapting to change.
That\'s what we\'re going to do here, \"she said.
The association hopes for the next refrigerator and has the ability to power the equipment to increase acai\'s production, a potentially valuable fruit that has so far been used only for domestic consumption
When Duarte heard the solar panels
She started the pump almost silently and she still had a hard time believing the change.
\"It\'s a dream, I think it\'s something that will never happen,\" he said . \"