That blazing golden orb which is the basis of life on earth and lying 150 million kilometers across is a powerhouse of energy. The energy produced by this star, built mostly of gases, is several thousand times more than the energy currently produced or consumed by us. It is our perennial source of energy-the Sun. A significant part of the energy produced by this massive globe is reflected into space while our atmosphere absorbs the rest.
Harnessing this can meet most of our energy needs. Solar power can be used to produce two forms of energy-electricity and heat. The energy produced by this fiery red ball can be used to power our homes, offices, run automobiles and even air craft’s! There is no pollution and we will never run out of this power for thousands and thousands of years. Let us make the switch to solar power a green switch for Planet Earth.
Solar Panels and Batteries: A Cheap Rural Energy Source
For rural communities in tropical and sub tropical latitudes, it’s already the case of the at least expensive way of producing electric power. Is to provide what I call community solar installations. So you provide solar panels, not rooftop solar panels which are still quite expensive, but ground-based solar panels on a scale big enough to provide power for the entire community and you then hope the community to that, what we call the micro-grid, a small scale low voltage grid, just running it locally.
You provide some energy storage by application of lead-acid batteries, old-fashioned car batteries and that’s a less expensive way of providing power for rural communities than for example building a centralized power station burning coal or oil and building out a high voltage grid. It’s also a more efficient way of providing power than relying on local generators, local diesel generators. I have a colleague, who’s in the Engineering School of Columbia, who are involved in installations of this sort all over Africa at the moment and these are the most cost-effective ways of providing power to remote rural communities.