Google Embraces Renewable Energy in Africa


Google announced in late May that it is investing $12 million on a “96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in South Africa.” This plant is significant because it utilizes the climate of southern Africa to generate clean and renewable energy.

While South Africa is one of the continent’s more economically advanced countries, the utilization of solar panels in Africa could set an important trend for developing countries in the region. As Africa continues to progress and its standards of living rise, there will be a higher energy demand coming from Africans. Without the use of renewable sources, this higher energy use would result in an increase of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, potentially propelling climate change.

The investment made by Google demonstrates that higher standards of living in Africa can be possible through the use of clean energy. The majority of the continent is well suited to obtain energy from solar panels since most areas in Africa have a high level of Global Horizontal Irradiation, a parameter which evaluates the solar energy potential of a particular region. The investment should also encourage other areas of the world, both developed and developing, to invest in renewable energy. The solar plant is expected to “generate enough power for 30,000 South African homes” without emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. While not all areas of the world have climates that are well-suited for the use of solar plants, other renewable resources, such as wind power, hydropower, and geothermal energy should be considered as ways to maintain a high standard of living without creating pollutants that can degrade the environment.

– Jordan Kline

Source: TechCrunch,SolarGis