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For Release: October 1, 1997

Michael Finneran
(757) 864-6121

Ann C. Gaudreaux
(757) 864-8150

RELEASE NO. 97-118


The man whose company is helping people in developing nations use solar power to cook will give a talk at NASA Langley on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 10 a.m.

Johnny Weiss, co-founder and director of education for Solar Energy International (SEI), will present his talk in Building 1250, room 118. The talk - "Solar Energy International Empowers Developing Nations" - is sponsored by the Radiation Sciences Branch, Atmospheric Sciences Division.

Weiss will give an overview of SEI activities, as well as describe the link that the organization has with a Surface Solar Energy Project at NASA Langley. Solar Energy International is a nonprofit educational organization that helps people use renewable energy resources and environmental technologies through education and technical assistance.

Since 1991, more than 700 people from 48 states and 31 countries have attended SEI's Renewable Energy Education Program (REEP). In 1996, a range of domestic and international projects were undertaken:

  • SEI worked with women in Central America to open the world's first Solar Bakery. Together they built a large solar cooker with a photovoltaic-powered fan inside the oven. The solar convection oven is being used by the women to make baked goods and sell to the local community. Through SEI's efforts, these women will have additional income to raise their family's standard of living.
  • SEI teamed with the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF) to bring electricity to a village in the Solomon Islands. SEI was responsible for training the villagers in the operation and maintenance of their photovoltaic systems.
  • SEI traveled to Peru and taught a solar energy course to technicians. This course covered installation, maintenance and repair of solar electric systems for vaccine refrigeration.
  • SEI placed a graduate of its Photovoltaic Design and Installation Workshop and the Advanced PV Workshop with a volunteer position for Energy Alternatives Africa. The volunteer worked for one year in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mali teaching the practical use of solar, and helped train people in the installation of solar photovoltaic systems.
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