It’s been over a decade since Milka and Stevo Balac–an elderly couple living in a remote village in Croatia–have had electricity. The local infrastructure was destroyed by war in the 1990s, and it was too expensive to rebuild. A new video shows the couple turning on lights for the first time: their home is one of dozens of off-the-grid houses in Croatia that’s getting solar panels this year.
UNDP Croatia, along with the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and local government, plans to install more than 50 solar systems in homes without electricity in 2016. In addition to being renewable–Croatia still gets about 35% of its energy from coal and natural gas–solar is also up to 30 times cheaper than connecting remote homes to the grid.
“Come on, grandpa! Go and kiss the light bulb!” Milka tells her husband, who is equally excited about the possibility of using a refrigerator. “I will live like a king now! I’ll have all sorts of meat,” he says. “And sausages.”