Solar Energy in Africa
One of the most important indicators of development is access to electricity. Electricity is considered a fundamental and basic element of developed society. There is a huge movement to provide communities without electricity with the means to obtain it.
In many underdeveloped countries, the easiest way to obtain electricity is by solar energy. Many of these areas do not have the infrastructure nor the resources to create mass electrical plants like those in Europe or the United States. Solar panels are a cost effective way to produce electricity anywhere.
Azuri Technologies is providing many families in Africa with a cheap way to obtain electricity. There is a one time installation fee and then a weekly charge of little over $1. This is important because these families currently have to use kerosene which costs much more than the expenses of the solar panel.
Another reason that solar panels are important is that they provide a wide range of uses. The kerosene is only used for light. However, access to mobile phones is becoming more and more common. The solar panels are all equipped to charge mobile phones, which are becoming fundamental to the communities.
The phone situation is one example of how access to electricity leads to development. If communities do not have phone access, they have to refer back to traditional means of communication or using phones that are long distances away. The access to electricity is giving them the tools to advance.
One large impetus to use solar panels is that there is a lot of sun! Fossil fuels are extremely expensive, especially in underdeveloped countries. The sun is a resource that does not cost money and does not run out. Sunlight does not need to be transported and it cannot be stolen, which is a problem with fossil fuels.
The use of solar panels is one way that underdeveloped areas can be brought into the developed world. It is not the only solution to development or poverty, but it is a piece to the puzzle that can put everything in motion.
– Zachary Patterson
Sources: The Eco Experts, Bloomberg Business Week