After my interview with Bob Freling, the executive director of the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), I visited his YouTube page which has some great video that documents many of SELF's solar electrification projects in poor villages around the world.

In Bhutan, SELF brought solar power to one remote village which up until now has relied solely upon the surrounding forests as an energy source.

Here, old-growth pines are felled to produce wood chips used for both heating and lighting. This has put pressure on the natural winter habitat of the rare Black Neck Crane, a migratory bird species that is bordering on extinction.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature invited SELF to come to Bhutan and electrify one village, with the hope of alleviating pressures on the fragile ecosystem. Though trees are still harvested for heating, the solar-powered LED lights help reduce demand for wood, and the government is now educating the village about sustainable forestry.

The footage below of a family turning on a light bulb for the first time is priceless!

Solar power may help save the Black Neck Crane
SELF, the Solar Electric Light Fund, pioneers solar project in the Himalayan forests of Bhutan.