Two young activists share their experiences from our recent solar training session held in Cape Town:

Thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world by Aphiwe Zothwa

When a friend invited me to join the free Solar Training hosted by Greenpeace Africa, I was hesitant to sign up. I thought it was going to be theoretical and boring, but to my surprise the training was fun and jovial and a great outdoor experience.

I wanted to be part of the solar training because I believe in the use of clean energy sources, and that solar is the future. The training helped me gain more expertise in various solar systems, that I plan to apply to my daily life.  

Solar cooking was the most interesting part of the training, it was fascinating and somewhat strange to have a ‘cook-off’ with no wood, gas, coal, and better yet, no smoke.  

I was also learnt how to conduct an energy audit. Now I can calculate how much electricity I use at home and how much energy each of my appliances consume so that I can change my lifestyle for the better.

Kudos to Greenpeace Africa for equipping me with useful solar knowledge.

My Solar Experience by Jessica Eichhoff

I was informed about the Greenpeace Africa solar training two months in advance. With excitement, I marked off the days until it finally arrived. And how very eye-opening it has been.

Coming from an environmental science background, I know how important sustainable energy is, and that it really is the only way forward. But I knew, reading through all the theory and statistics, I would never gets the practical sense of what goes into moving over to and installing systems that generate energy using renewable resources. So my anticipation was huge to say the very least, as I feel very strongly about reducing our footprint on earth.

This workshop has been all I expected and more. Our teacher, Mitch, made learning easy and enjoyable. He explained how solar power works, with a crash course in electricity and what a solar panel is made of. He also gave us hands-on experience making a mini solar flashlight (soldering and all), along with connecting a small solar system to all its components. I found all of this very valuable. It made me realize that it isn’t just as easy as telling people to go renewable -- so much work, planning and education goes into it. This is not a negative thing -- solar power has so much potential to create new jobs and opportunities, which we really need in Africa.

Solar is definitely the easiest and most cost effective way one person or a small community can take charge of their power situation, when wanting to make a difference in what sort of energy they consume.

But possibly the most vital lesson I learned attending this workshop is becoming more aware of our energy consumption. It’s one thing going over to solar, but our whole life style needs to change. I thought I was living moderately, but I can tell you one thing, a whole lot more switching off will be happening in my house, and I will definitely be adding some more nifty little solar gadgets to my life.