Saturday, September 16, 2006

Solar to power world's poor out of poverty

We are going to have to think our way out of our global warming predicament. Greenpeace and the European Photovoltaics Industry Association have developed a way to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions and help fight world poverty:

TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- By 2025, nearly 2 billion people around the world will be able to get their electricity from solar power, according to a new report by Greenpeace and the European Photovoltaics Industry Association.

In perhaps more surprising news, more than 1.6 billion of those people now have no access to electricity at all.

Though installing photovoltaic systems, which convert sunlight into electricity through a chemical reaction, in these poor, rural areas is already cheaper in most cases than extending the national grid to them, few countries have ventured into solar so far.

The report, called Solar Generation, cites Brazil and India as exceptions. So how will the world go from a handful of solar projects to 1.6 billion solar users in less than 20 years?

"It's a two-step strategy," said European Photovoltaic Industries Association Communications Officer Marie Latour, speaking to UPI by telephone from France.

The solar boom will "start from grid-connected technology supported by (government) policies like the feed-in tariff system, and these markets will enable the takeoff of the rural solar market by reducing the cost of the modules," Latour said.

Feed-in tariffs are payments for solar energy -- in places such as California and Germany, utilities pay customers with solar panels for the electricity they provide to the grid.

According to the study, the numbers look like this: "By 2025, PV systems could be generating approximately 589 terawatt hours of electricity around the world."

The International Energy Agency predicts that world electricity demand will be about 23,000 terawatt hours in 2025.

Greenpeace International Renewables Director Sven Teske told UPI that "in 35 to 40 years, PV could deliver 15 percent of the world's electricity production."

He said this would be mostly from household use, as photovoltaic systems are decentralized by nature.

Using lateral thinking to come up with a smart and practical approach to reducing the mutually-reinforcing problems of world poverty and GHG emissions is the sort of thing we need more of.

Mood: Pensive: This is more the direction I am going to take with this blog, and I think I am going to find interesting stuff happen in the business world, which is greening faster than an advanced AGW spring. Just reporting the bad news gets depressing. And slaying skeptics? There's not that much value in doing it for me - it's just sport - but if readers learn about how these people work they can fight their pernicious crap.

Read more: :::[Solar World: Report predicts a bright future]

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Anonymous said...

I'd be curious how many are working on "becoming carbon neutral" - there is an unscientific survey on

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