A new report from a respected German energy think tank highlights the rapid drop in the price of solar energy. Agora Energiewende's comprehensive report uses current and past statistics about the reduction in the production price for solar PV panels to project into the future. Their forecast indicates that solar PV-based energy will be the cheapest source of power within the decade and down to an amazing US 2c/kWh by 2050, much cheaper than gas-fired power plants at US 9c/kWh or any other form of fossil fuel including coal.
The empower program was developed to assist small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), with less than 200 employees, to improve energy efficiency. The program was developed with assistance from the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the Australian Government Department of Industry and Science.
Whilst this program was designed with the Australian market in mind, the resources are freely available, and can be applied to other smaller food and grocery manufacturing businesses around the world to save energy.
The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan has an ambitious solar energy plan to electrify over 5,800 homes in 200 different villages. The plan is part of a government-backed project called the Green Growth Initiative, founded by Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan. In a country like Pakistan that faces blackouts lasting 4 hours a day in rural areas that are connected to the grid, the answer seems obvious– the traditional centralised energy system is failing rural communities, can off-grid be any worse?
Researchers in the UK and US are working on new techniques to create fuels like methanol, diesel and even petrol from the atmosphere around us - the key component being used is CO2. Bloomberg has a light overview video of the work being done by a UK company called Air Fuel Synthesis (AFS). The process involves pulling in air and extracting the CO2 component (.04% of our atmosphere and rising).
The amount of food we waste is a growing issue worldwide, especially with population growth and the shrinking availability of water and arable land. One way to combat food waste is the use of effective packaging. What type of packaging that is needed varies where the food is wasted along the supply chain, and this depends on what market the food is grown in. The Save Food Initiative produced two reports, Global Food Losses and Food Waste, and Appropriate packaging solutions for developing countries.
The Croton tree, which is commonly known as Mukinduri in Eastern and Central part of Kenya, is now a good known source of biofuels and that is being practiced. It grows in a challenging environment and unlike jatropha and palm, it won't bring food and fuel competition. It has no chemical additives and burns cleaner than traditional diesel fuel, with no sulfuric content. It can save our environment from carbon emissions and help in better land usage.
Many companies use traditional methods to measure the impact of solar power investments such as quoting the many dollars invested, number of people using their kits and areas covered by their product, which are inadequate tools for measuring social impact for solar power investments if we have to get it right. Traditional approaches of gathering data are not only expensive, take time to give results and complicated to use, but are also not helpful in terms of boosting solar power funding. The lean data approach proposed by Acumen could, not only bridge solar power funding gaps in developing worlds, but will also help companies to understand emerging markets.
Research undertaken by Greentech Media (GTM) predicts that over the next five years, the global solar market will demonstrate a cumulative average growth rate of around 8%, with emerging economies including India and Latin America leading the progress.