Conservationist Rebecca Klein of Cheetah Conservation Botswana was in need of energy to conduct her research in Botswana back in 2003. Rebecca works in remote areas of Botswana where power is not easy to get, and she desperately needed a reliable source of energy for her project. She spoke of this need at the 2003 Wildlife Conservation Expo, where San Francisco-based solar energy proponent Stephen Gold heard her. Gold contacted WCN and volunteered to help, and the WCN Solar Project was born.
Gold found that many conservationists were using either diesel generators or antiquated solar systems that were inadequate for their needs. Since that time, the WCN Solar Project has brought solar systems to Rebecca Klein and more than 40 other conservation projects around the world. The systems power everything from conservation camps to research activities like Save the Elephants’ tracking system, which follows elephants in real-time GPS.
Stephen Gold still runs the WCN Solar Project and is able to provide solar systems with the help of generous donations of both equipment and money from corporations and individuals. The systems have helped conservationists switch from unreliable or unclean power supplies like diesel or car batteries to solar, which requires very little maintenance, is clean, and makes no noise. As Dr. Laurence Frank of Living With Lions in Kenya said when he received his system, “The project is lit up, the satellite-internet system is working, and I don’t hear a generator. I am thrilled!”
- Read a profile of Stephen Gold and his work on the WCN Solar Project
- Read a San Francisco Chronicle article about the WCN Solar Project
- Read a CBS SF Bay Area article about the wcn solar project
For 15 years, the Solar Project has delivered sustainable technology to conservation programs around the world. Today, there are 44 systems in nine countries providing water, clean energy, and communications systems to conservation projects in the furthest reaches of the planet.
WCN's Solar Project is currently working on Project Niger, it's biggest initiative yet. With the exception of a few small savanna populations, the North African ostrich has completely disappeared from its previously vast Sahelo-Saharan range. The Solar Project, through Project Niger, aims to support the Sahara Conservation Fund's efforts to recover the North African Ostrich through the North African Ostrich Recovery Project.
Project Niger is currently in the process of converting four shipping containers into a sustainable camp which will include a hatchery, incubation Lab, office, and Solar Power Plant.
Solar Project Installations
Niassa Lion Project · 3 systems
Ethiopian Wolf Project · 3 systems
Cheetah Conservation Botswana · 1 system
Snow Leopard Trust · 3 systems
Papua New Guinea
Tenkile Conservation Alliance · 19 systems
Spectacled Bear Conservation · 1 system
44 total systems
Solar Project Supporters
Without the help of many individuals and organizations, it would not have been possible to provide all of the solar systems and camp infrastructure for the conservationists to live and work in these remote locations. It has truly been a collaborative project and we are moved and inspirited by everyone who has helped. We extend our most heartfelt thanks to the following people and organizations who have helped support the Solar Project.
Aqua Sun International
Bob’s Iron, Inc.
ESP Exotic and Specialty Products
Peter Retondo Architecture
Simpliphi Power, Inc.
Yick and Company
Life in the villages within the Torricelli Mountain Range of Papua New Guinea can be immensely challenging. The area is remote, covered in dense forest, and the terrain is rugged and mostly accessible only by foot. Papua New Guinea and its majestic mountains represent one of the few areas in the world that remains relatively untouched by human impacts.