Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Lycoming College brings Energy Access Foundation to campus

Lycoming College brings Energy Access Foundation to campus

Download Image: Web

The final talk of Lycoming College’s Center for Energy and the Future (CEF) 2017-18 lecture series will bring two experts from the Energy Access Foundation (EAF) to campus to present “Solar Technology In Developing Countries: Sustainable Energy for All.” The talk, slated for Tuesday, April 10 at 7 p.m., will be held in the Jane Schultz room of the Wertz Student Center, and is free and open to the public.

EAF works to accelerate access to sustainable energy in developing countries, alleviating energy poverty without destroying the environment, and giving people the opportunity to develop their human potential. EAF programs help assure that everyone can gain access to sustainable energy. Richard Hansen, executive director at EAF, and Williana Aquino, program manager at EAF, hope their talk will help the audience learn more about the advances of solar PV in developing countries and its contribution to the global transition to a sustainable energy system.

Lycoming College’s positioning near a gateway to the Marcellus Shale region puts students at a unique advantage to examine complex issues related to modern energy systems. The CEF seeks to engage the College community in the nation’s ongoing conversation about energy through its energy science and energy studies curriculum, student-faculty research, field experiences and internships.

Hansen is a pioneer in the application of PV technology combined with micro-finance to increase access to electricity in developing countries. Starting in 1984, he led a non-profit program to introduce PV technology with micro-finance in the Dominican Republic. He then replicated this model in Honduras in 1989 under a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy. This work led to significant replication globally. In 1993 Richard founded Soluz Inc. with a mission to assist the global transition to sustainable energy. In Honduras, Soluz’s subsidiary, Soluz Honduras, supplies PV products and related micro-finance products. Through Soluz, Hansen has provided advisory services for major institutions including USAID, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nepal, Nicaragua, the Philippines and elsewhere. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., and a master's degree in business administration from Boston University.

Aquino was born in the Puerto Plata area of Dominican Republic and lived in a PV-powered house until she was ten years old, when she immigrated to the Boston area. Quickly becoming bilingual and bi-cultural, she studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and graduated with a degree in political science and a minor in environmental science. Later, Aquino worked as a home energy advisor, helping homeowners in Massachusetts, many of them emigrants from various countries, to reduce their energy consumption. This background has given her an excellent cross-cultural understanding of the energy-climate nexus and prepared her to manage EAF's international collaborations to advance energy access.

“Having Richard and Williana on campus to talk about the advances in solar PV is the perfect way to cap off this year’s successful CEF lecture series that touched on a variety of perspectives surrounding shale gas production, energy policy development and implementation, renewable energy development, and the world’s energy future,” said Jonathan Williamson, CEF director and associate professor of political science. “It’s also a great send off for Lycoming students who will soon put learning into practice by traveling to the Dominican Republic in May to gain field experience with the implementation of solar solutions in remote areas of the country.”

The CEF speaker series is sponsored, in part, by the Atlantic Sunrise Community Grant program, established by Williams, a natural gas transmissions pipeline company committed to being a good community neighbor and environmental steward.

Useful Resources