Earlier this week I was in Jalalabad Afghanistan driving (actually, being driven) down a road when I spotted a sign for Afghan Solar. I wasn’t able to get a photo of the sign, but did track down their website. Established in 2002, Afghan Solar focuses on providing alternative power solutions for lighting, water and telecommunications.

Most Afghans have no access to modern forms of energy such as electricity, gas, and liquid fuels. More than 80% of the population live in rural areas and depend on traditional fuels (wood and crop residues) for cooking and heating water and kerosene for lighting. This not only has an effect on the forests and watersheds but burning fuels indoors increases air pollution and adversely affects the health of women and children in particular. Given that Afghanistan has an average of 300 sunny days per year, solar energy makes good financial and ecological sense.

In Jalalabad, many streetlights were powered by solar energy. How many street lights in Washington DC use alternative energy sources?