Solar Sister envisions a brighter world powered by women entrepreneurs.
Everyone should have access to clean energy. In sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people have no access to electricity and over 700 million must rely on harmful fuels, it’s women who bear the huge burden of this energy poverty and who disproportionately shoulder the harmful effects of climate change.
Solar Sister believes women are a key part of the solution to the clean energy challenge. This is why we invest in women’s enterprise in off-grid communities. We see the opportunity to empower women and to reach those who aren’t reached by business-as-usual energy models. Centering local women in a rapidly growing clean energy sector is essential to eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable solutions to climate change and a host of development issues.
Our Origin Story
The seeds of Solar Sister were planted when Katherine Lucey, a former investment banker from America, met Rebecca, a farmer in rural Uganda, in 2008. Using solar to light her chicken coop, Rebecca showed that one woman’s creative enterprise transforms lives. With more light, the chickens produced more eggs. As she sold more eggs, she built a profitable farm, improving her family’s standard of living and building a community school. “If one woman can make such an impact with a solar panel, what could a whole network of women accomplish?”
Neha Misra, an energy economist, poet, and folk artist from India, had seen firsthand the ripple effect of women-driven solar energy solutions during a visit to India’s remote Sundarbans islands, one of the most climate vulnerable parts of the world. After this life changing trip, Neha committed to applying her experience in the renewable energy sector to working at the intersection of energy justice, climate justice and women’s rights movements.
Each bringing essential ingredients, Katherine and Neha worked together to build the foundation of a unique organization: a social enterprise that centers local women in the distribution of clean energy. Three incredible African women leaders joined them in making Solar Sister what it is today. Evelyn Namara, former Director of Solar Sister Uganda, led our very first pilot program in 2010, forming the backbone of our model’s proof of concept. Fatma Muzo, Solar Sister Tanzania Director, has grown our operations since opening our office in Arusha in 2013. Olasimbo Sojinrin, Solar Sister Nigeria Director, has grown operations since opening our office in Lagos in 2014. Our first solar brother, David O’Connor, has also made vital contributions to growing our impact across multiple geographies in our first decade.
Beyond this, a wide coalition of countless individuals, community organizations, technology innovators, donors and institutional partners have enabled us to grow Solar Sister’s impact in the world. With so many incredible current team members and alumni, partners and supporters, we have come so far. The road ahead is full of light, hope, and opportunity. We are grateful to everyone who has brought strength, creativity and passion to this work. And we invite YOU to join us as we forge ahead!