HILLSBORO, OR -- A partnership among SolarWorld, the largest solar manufacturer in the United States and Europe, and nonprofit partners Rotary International and Water Missions International (WMI) has helped a total of 35,000 people in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean gain access to clean, safe drinking water. At the close of 2013, SolarWorld, Rotary International, a global network of humanitarian volunteers, and WMI, a Christian water-engineering nonprofit, celebrated installation of 25 solar-powered, community-based water-purification systems in Haiti, the Peruvian Amazon and Malawi. The three organizations share a chief humanitarian goal of promoting water quality to enhance the health, quality of life and economic status of the world's poorest people.
In the systems, high-performance solar panels donated by SolarWorld power submersible water pumps provided by Grundfos, the world's pump-technology leader and a strategic partner of WMI. At each site, WMI's engineers combined SolarWorld panels in treatment systems capable of supplying water needs of thousands of people. As another strategic partner of WMI, SolarWorld has for years donated and discounted its solar technology for deployment through the nonprofit's programs in the developing world.
"These projects unite WMI, Rotary International, SolarWorld and Grundfos in leveraging their technological expertise to maximize the humanitarian impact of curbing the spread of disease and death from contaminated water supplies," said George Greene IV, president and chief operating officer of Water Missions International. "The result: clean, safe and sustainable water -- a foundation for community health, education and economic vitality."
SolarWorld and WMI teamed with various local Rotary clubs in the United States, Peru, Haiti and Malawi to provide systems. In Peru, for example, the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., led a fund-raising effort that, in combination with a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, garnered over $300,000 for water and sanitation projects in Peru.
"Improving water and sanitation projects are a passion for our Rotary club and for Rotary International because the need is so great. Every day, more than 5,000 children around the world die from water-borne disease," said Ron Myers, member of Lakewood Ranch's Rotary club. "Our club is driven by human understanding of this global crisis and our desire to help people around the world lead better, healthier lives."
Since 2012, the three organizations have implemented nine solar-powered water-treatment systems in Peru, many in remote communities in the Amazon River basin, and two systems in Bayonnais, Haiti. Sixteen systems in rural Malawi came online about the same time. Without such systems, these communities would continue to suffer high rates of water-borne disease and childhood mortality that attend parasite-bearing and otherwise contaminated water supplies.
"WMI, Rotary International, Grunfos and SolarWorld share a focus on using sustainable technology to address the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges, particularly the need for safe drinking water in impoverished, rural communities," said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld. "Together with our valued partners WMI and Grundfos, SolarWorld joins Rotary International's community of 1.2 million members in creating positive, lasting change around the world. It is an honor to add our solar know-how to this inspiring, global movement."
Photos, videos and first-hand accounts of projects in Peru and Malawi are available on the blogs of SolarWorld, WMI and Rotary International as well as on WMI's Vimeo and Picasa channels.
SolarWorld AG manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The company, located in Bonn, employs approximately 2,500 people and carries out production in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro, USA. From raw material silicon to the solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production -- including its own research and development. Through an international distribution network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar modules and complete systems. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe, and has committed itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. More information at www.solarworld-usa.com.