Followed by the engagement we received on our article “innovative solar applications”, we are following it up with another article to highlight some of the innovations made in the solar industry. While the previous article highlighted applications that helped reduce carbon emissions and provide reliable power to several areas with solar, this article aims to encourage certain solar inventions that are resolving real-life issues.
As mentioned before, a solar installation helps fight the impacts of climate change and reduce carbon emissions. While most solar projects are commissioned for direct financial and environmental benefits, there are multiple solar projects set around the globe that are helping communities develop economic sustainably and provide basic amenities. Below is some solar energy information on projects that have resolved socio-economic issues in regions across the world.
1. Solar electricity produces fresh drinking water
With more than 844 million people not having access to clean water, every year approximately 300,000 children die due to water-borne diseases. Making change on a small scale, Give Power, an NGO in U.S. decided to help a rural area called Kiunga which is located in Papua New Guinea. Give Power’s water farm project developed an advanced solar powered filtration system that converts sea and brackish water into fresh drinking water, powered by rooftop solar panels. The project was commissioned successfully in 2018 which currently produces fresh water for 35,000 people every day.
2. Solar electricity for employment and entrepreneurs
More than 30% of the population in Nepal does not have access to power; this forces many to leave their homes and find employment elsewhere. One such community in Nepal was the village of Majhi Gaon. Many residents of the village leave their homes seeking employment opportunities thus hindering the development of the village community. To help the community members, Give Power set up off-grid rooftop solar panels which not only electrified the community but also provided an opportunity for them to set up businesses that could boost employment.
3. Solar installation on agricultural lands: Agrophotovoltaics
Over the last couple of years, multiple projects were tested to increase the efficiency of land. A demo solar project was initiated in 2018 on an agricultural land in Germany. The project involved installing solar panels at a height of five meters above land to produce solar electricity while growing crops. The results have shown a 3% increase in crop produce after the installation of panels, plus the farmer now generates excess electricity which can be sold back to the utility company. Since, the success of this project, Fraunhofer ISE has identified Maharashtra, India to be a potential destination to implement Agrophotovoltaics. According to them, Maharashtra’s weather condition with solar can increase their cotton and tomato yields by 40%.
4. Akon lights Africa with solar electricity
Since parts of Africa still faces power failure or has no power at all, Akon, the famous singer decided to start an initiative to help develop Africa. What started as a small project of lighting his hometown with solar streetlights, has soon gained investors and manufacturing partners from Africa and China to help him light his home country with clean solar energy. Since the inception of his first project in 2014, Akon’s foundation “Akon lighting Africa” has helped more than 600 million by implementing ground and rooftop solar projects across 14 African countries. He has also provided more than 5000 employment opportunities boosting the economy of many African nations.
5. Solar Power for rural schools: ABS Renew Power
Some rural regions in Maharashtra face over 80 hours of power cut per week during the day. This significantly hinders digital education of young students. To overcome this hindrance and encourage modern education techniques, ABS Renew Power has successfully worked with a key conglomerate in the financial services, security and real estate market to electrify these schools with ground-mounted and rooftop solar installations. The initiative has resulted in improved enrollment levels of students due uninterrupted electricity for classroom training, water supply, sanitation and overall development of the community. Approximately 20,000 students have been positively affected by simply going solar.
Such real-life examples show that renewable sources of energy like solar are not limited to resolving issues like air pollution and climate change but can resolve many other issues with the right technology invention. Kudos to such solar innovators who make a change in millions of lives every year. Visit us next time for more solar energy information.