Back to all news

Introducing Solar United Madagascar

As we are working to progress towards our mission to leave no one behind in the energy transition, we are thrilled to share the news that we are part of an exciting new consortium of actors committed to increasing access to solar powered light and electricity across Madagascar.

Recognising the great need for access to electricity in Madagascar, where 80.7% of the population living below the poverty line and only one quarter have access to electricity, SolarAid is proud to be partnering with Feedback Madagascar, Money for Madagascar and SEED Madagascar as well as the national social enterprise Jiro-Ve, all of whom have decades of local expertise, knowledge, relationships and connections with rural communities in some of the poorest areas of the country.

80.7% of the population in Madagascar live without access to electricity. Photo: Solar United/Rijasolo.

The consortium, Solar United, is powering rural schools with solar energy, providing light and power for educational appliances, as well as working with solar light libraries – enabling students to access solar light and power within their homes.

To date, 46 schools within 8 Malagasy regions are benefitting from the Light Libraries, reaching 9,649 students. Within this pilot, we aim to reach over 100 schools and communities initially – and to develop scalable models which can expand across this vast country. We are also exploring the potential for new models to be developed to enable 100% of rural communities to access solar powered light and electricity.

Nirina Anjaratiana Razanakotonavo works as a teacher at a small community school in rural Madagascar. She has seen student’s lives and grades boosted since they started using Light Library light sticks in June 2023, she says, “I can tell the students who don’t use Light Library lights at home because they have stuffy noses from the kerosene lamp smoke.”

Building strong partnerships, focusing on collaboration and knowledge sharing is crucial if we are to achieve universal energy access across sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 and builds on our commitment to Leave No One Behind. We recognise the need to trial different models and use the latest technology to increase access to solar light and power in order to improve education, healthcare and livelihoods, while also building resilience to the unfolding climate crisis.

Every Light Library is run by a local franchisee, Like Jean Michel Rakotonirina. With each power bank stick they rent out – their earnings increase. Photo: Solar United/Rijasolo.

We are therefore proud to be part of the consortium of actors in ‘Solar United’, working towards the joint mission of ‘A Madagascar where communities thrive and live sustainably’. We believe that by making the power of renewable energy accessible, we address immediate needs like education, health and livelihoods – leaving no one behind and contributing to long-term environmental resilience.

SolarAid’s CEO, John Keane says, “By leveraging solar energy to combat poverty and address the pressing  challenges of climate change, we are committed to providing energy access to Madagascar, a nation disproportionately affected by both poverty and environmental crisis.”

To support this project in Madagascar, donate through the Big Give Green Match fund until 12 noon BST on Thursday April 25rd. Every donation will be doubled by our generous match funder.