Sometimes it takes a touch of star power to boost solar energy projects, which may be why comedian Sarah Silverman has publicly supported Arava Power and Energiya Global founder Yosef Abramowitz’s latest solar campaign in the Galapagos Islands.
Known as “Captain Sunshine,” Silverman’s brother-in-law has pioneered a host of solar energy projects around the globe, but the one off the coast of mainland Ecuador holds such special significance that Silverman is not only willing to sign photographs of the first 50 supporters, but has also promised a Skype conversation with donors who contribute $5,000 or more. Hit the jump for the details.
Energiya Global (EG) was founded by the same team behind Arava Power, which has pioneered solar energy plants that benefit Israel’s Bedouin population in addition to a host of other communities.
But responding to a need for an organization that would focus specifically on developing solar energy projects in the developing world, the father of five founded EG.
By 2020, Energiya plans to spend $20 billion on 10,000 MW of solar capacity in countries as far afield as Rwanda and Romania.
But a new solar project in the Galapagos Islands, which is a remarkable haven for biological diversity known for its importance to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution research, requires creative intervention.
Currently San Cristobal Island relies almost exclusively on diesel fuel to meet its energy requirement.
In addition to being expensive and often difficult to source, diesel fuel is not environmentally-friendly. “Diesel exhaust contains a number of pollutants that can be harmful to public health,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Education, including “fine particulate matter, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and toxic air contaminants known as hazardous air pollutants.”
EG hopes to mitigate the island’s reliance on this polluting fossil fuel by installing a modest 300 kilowatt solar field which will include only 1,200 photovoltaic panels – much less than a standard solar field.
As a result of the project’s small scale, it is going to be virtually impossible to attract investor attention. Cue star power.
Silverman has become an outspoken proponent of solar energy. At the 2011 Israeli Presidential Conference, she proposed that solar energy could help to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict vis-à-vis the “Buddy Movie Formula.”
“You take two enemies and they are forced to work together on some common goal and in the end they realize they aren’t that different,” she said.
“Right? So they’ve got to come together either for some common goal – how about solar power? (applause) How about solar power!? How about powering the world with this beautiful sun they share? Or else a common enemy like a monster from outer space.”
EG is seeking to raise $250,000 through its crowd-funding program, in order to build a modest solar plant that will replace 147,00o liters of diesel annually and reduce the risk of environmental contamination through inadvertent spills.
Whether you are in love with the cape-draped Captain Sunshine – one of the world’s leading pioneers in solar energy – or his silver tongued sister-in-law Sarah Silverman, consider supporting Energiya Global’s Indiegogo campaign to help protect the fragile UNESCO-protected Galapagos Islands.