Welcome to As It Is, a daily show from VOA Learning English.
I’m Christopher Cruise.
Today, we report on how India has become an important market for developers of solar energy. Hundreds of millions of people in India don’t have electricity; solar power could change that, and improve their lives.
Then, we take you for a ride on the first train to travel between the north and south of Nigeria in more than ten years. Africa’s most populous nation desperately needs reliable rail service.
接下来，我们带大家乘坐 10 多年来第一列穿行尼日利亚南北两端的火车。这个非洲人口最稠密的国家迫切需要可靠的铁路运输系统。
India has become an important market for solar power developers. One reason for this is falling prices for the equipment that can make electricity from sunlight. Another reason is government support for the development of solar power.
Thousands of solar panels in the Indian state of Gujarat have been producing electricity for almost a year. These panels make up the largest solar energy park in Asia. More than 20 international companies launched the park a year ago. It now produces 214 megawatts of power every day.
在印度的古吉拉特邦，数千架太阳能板在近 1 年时间里进行发电。这些面板构成了亚洲最大的太阳能园区。超过 20 家国际公司在 1 年前创立了这个园区。它现在每天产出 214 兆瓦的电力。
Other solar parks have been built in India. But the nation produced almost no solar energy three years ago.
Amit Kumar works at The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi. He says falling prices for solar energy equipment have made it economically possible to capture and use the power of the sun.
Amit Kumar 在新德里能源与资源研究所工作。他说，太阳能设备的价格降低使得收集和利用太阳能从经济上成为可能。
“Prices are also continuously coming down, and we feel that again the target that cost of solar power should be equivalent to conventional power, we feel that it could probably be achieved by 2017 itself.”
“价格还在持续下降，我们再次觉得太阳能的造价将和普通能源相当，我们觉得它自己就能在 2017 年之前得以实现。”
Fossil fuels like coal and oil now produce most of India’s power. But the government has set a goal of producing 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022.
目前，印度的电力主要来自煤和石油等化石燃料。但政府设立了一个目标， 2022在年之前通过太阳能发电 2 万兆瓦。
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged companies to expand solar energy operations in India. He said they should make the country a solar energy center.
India is home to almost 400 million people who do not have access to electricity. Most live in rural areas. But even cities experience power shortages.
印度有将近 4 亿人没有电力供应，大多数生活在农村地区，但即便是城市也存在电力短缺。
Some businesses are building large solar parks because the government has promised to buy the power they produce. Others are producing small solar systems for villages. They include companies like SELCO India, based in Bangalore. Its solar systems help power low-power devices like lighting, television receivers, mobile chargers and sewing machines.
Prasant Biswal works for SELCO. He says electricity improves the lives of poor families.
Prasant Biswal 为 SELCO 工作。他说，电力改善了贫困家庭的生活。
“You have a sewing machine which can be powered by electricity, but unfortunately what happens in most of these areas where there is no electricity, the entrepreneur is forced to use manual, manually-operated machines. So when we talk about powering it on solar, so what happens is instead of producing 10 or 20 saris, the person produces say about 80 or 100 saris.”
“我们有需要供电的缝纫机，但不幸的是大部分地区并没有电。企业家被迫使用手动操作的机器。因此如果说到能通过太阳能供电，那么每人就可以生产大概 80 或 100 件莎丽服，而不再是 10 或 20 件。”
India has warm weather and sunshine for much of the year. Experts say the country could become an important market for solar power if government policies continue to support it.
For the first time in 10 years, Nigeria has a train service that links the north and south of the country. VOA’s Heather Murdock took the 1,100-kilometer trip from Lagos in the south to the northern city of Kano.
尼日利亚 10 年来第一次拥有了连接该国家南北两端的列车服务。VOA 的 Heather Murdock 完成了从南部拉各斯到北部城市卡诺的 1100 公里的旅程。
Onka Dekker has her report.
The train leaves Lagos -- Nigeria’s largest city -- every Friday at about 12 o’clock. Three hours earlier, the line to buy train tickets is already long. A one-way ticket to Kano costs between $12 and $30.
该列车每周五 12 点左右从尼日利亚最大城市拉各斯出发。3 个小时前，购买车票的队伍就已经排得很长。一张往卡诺的单程票要 12~30 美元。
When the trip begins, passengers in every part of the train appear excited to see Nigeria by train.
Passenger Aisha Muhammad Shuaib says taking the train costs less than a bus ride and is much safer than the roads.
乘客 Aisha Muhammad Shuaib 说，坐火车比汽车便宜，而且比公路交通安全。
“The roads, the roads are bad, sometimes armed robbers. That’s why I’m fearing the road, because it happens to me. When I was coming from Kano to Lagos I take the same bus with armed robbers. You can imagine! Eight armed robbers in the bus, we were heading to Lagos.”
As the train leaves Lagos, passengers watch the countryside passing by. Most passengers are hot. There is no air conditioning, except in the first-class car or private rooms. When the train stops, passengers hurry to buy soft drinks, water, nuts and fruit at the railroad station.
No railroad worker announces that the train is prepared to leave and there are no steps into the train cars. So when the train starts moving, passengers must jump on quickly. The train usually moves much slower than the promised top speed of 50 kilometers an hour.
没有铁路工作人员通知列车要开动了，也没有进入车厢的阶梯。因此当列车开动的时候，乘客必须迅速跳上车。这趟列车的移动速度通常比宣称的 50 公里最高时速低得多。
The next morning the train is in northern Nigeria. At every stop overnight, more and more passengers filled the cars. “I’ve been standing for past five hours. Some of us have been standing for seven, eight hours now.”
第二天早晨，列车来到尼日利亚北部。当夜每到一站，车厢里就会塞进越来越多的乘客。“我站 5 个小时了。我们还有一些人现在已经站 7~8 个小时了。”
On the second day of the trip, the train cars are so full that luggage and other belongings fill the washrooms.
The train reaches Kaduna State at about 6 o’clock. This is the time it was supposed to arrive in Kano, about 200 kilometers farther north.
列车在 6 点钟左右抵达卡杜纳州。这个时间本来应该已经到卡诺了，大概还要向北 200 公里。
A security officer warns passengers they are now in an area known for violence.
“Kano is one of the most security-dangerous areas that we need to be on our toes. We are on our optimum, optimum vigilance. As we are going to Kano watch out to every passenger that come in.”
Early the next morning, the train finally enters the Kano train station. Local officials say the city is at the center of the Boko Haram rebellion against the central government. The trip from Lagos to Kano took 37 and ½ hours. Tired passengers leave the train and move quickly away from the station. On the train, workers now prepare for the return trip down the length of Nigeria.
第二天清晨，列车终于驶入卡诺火车站。当地警方称，该城市处于抵抗中央政府的博科圣地叛军的中心。这趟从拉各斯到卡诺的行程历时 37.5 小时。疲惫的乘客离开列车，迅速离开了火车站。在火车上，工作人员现在正在为纵跨尼日利亚的回程做准备。
I’m Onka Dekker.
And that’s “As It Is,” our daily show from VOA Learning English.
We want to hear what you want to hear about on “As It Is.” So let us know -- send an email to email@example.com.
I’m Christopher Cruise, and that’s “As It Is” from VOA Learning English, from The Voice of America.