Film star Geraldine Chaplin to sponsor SolarWorld gift to power waterborne aid center in Peruvian Amazon


With the patronage of movie star Geraldine Chaplin, SolarWorld today announced its intention to donate a complete system of solar panels to power the pilot version of a waterborne telecommunications, health-care and business center that will elevate health care and commercial opportunities for residents of villages along Peru’s navigable rivers within the Amazon Rainforest.

The largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, SolarWorld made the announcement on the occasion of Chaplin’s visit to its European manufacturing hub in Freiberg, Germany, along with her daughter, movie actress Oona Chaplin, and husband, Chilian cinematographer Patricio Castilla. Company officials presented Geraldine Chaplin with a ceremonial first solar panel of the donation to Peru. Chaplin is known for starring roles in such film roles as “Doctor Zhivago” and as the daughter of great silent-era comic film actor and director Charlie Chaplin.

The company’s U.S. operations have operated in Latin America since the early 1980s. In Peru, distributor-installer CIME Comercial, based in the capital city of Lima, has represented SolarWorld for 17 years and will play a key role in the pilot project. During a visit to Lima in August, Chaplin plans to work to help coordinate the donation.

“This initiative will improve the quality of living and working in the Peruvian Amazon – without destroying habitat building additional land access – by tapping clean energy from the sunlight that is so abundant in that region,” Chaplin said. “I am deeply gratified to help SolarWorld foster this unique project and contribute to a region that I have come to know – and love – so well. We must think and give creatively to take care of this world treasure – the Amazon Rainforest – as well as its people.”

Beginning in 2013, the project will produce the first in a potential series of boats that the Peruvian government plans to build in concert with the National University of Engineering and the National Institute of Research and Training in Telecommunication, both in Lima. If the government goes forward with a full line of boats, they will operate along routes covering all nine rivers, including the Amazon, within the region.

SolarWorld’s donation of 11 kilowatts of off-grid solar panels as well as inverters and other equipment will power a waterborne center featuring a physician-staffed and internet-enabled health-care clinic, telecommunications center and commercial meeting facility. SolarWorld’s donation will be managed through the American wing of the company’s Solar2World program, which aids community rural-electrification projects in developing economies.

“SolarWorld has a rich history in Latin America, so we are only too pleased to lend a hand for a project that will prove so emblematic of the region,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “Moreover, it is only natural that we will partner with our loyal distribution and installation partner in Peru.”