Huge increases in energy demand and the quest to find low-emission energy to avoid damaging the climate has changed everything. It’s taken a while but it looks like a global transformation in energy is fully underway in the form of a roll out of solar energy. 20 years ago the problem for solar was whether the technology would work at all. 10 years ago it looked like the cost might be insurmountable. For the solar singularity to happen there are really only two major issues and they are being resolved now.
Windstream Technologies is the American manufacturer of a new type of hybrid renewable energy source. Called the "SolarMill", the device combines PV panels with savonius-type (helix) wind turbines and a built-in inverter. The result is a compact source of energy that is able to make the best of both sunlight and prevailing wind currents.
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?
A new global financial analysis released in March revealed that sustainable investment has surged worldwide by more than a third since 2016, reaching assets of more than $30 trillion. Across the African continent, a new wave of ecopreneurship is taking root. Local enterprises are paving the way for sustainability and exemplifying the impact that local knowledge and ingenuity can have when combined with innovative business models.
The United Nations Environment Programme in collaboration with Bloomberg New Energy Finance released their annual Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018. The report focuses on investment in renewable power and fuels - wind, solar, biomass and waste, biofuels, geothermal and marine projects, and small hydro-electric dams. The rise of solar power has dominated renewable energy investment in 2017, more than that new coal, gas and nuclear plants put together.
One of the most exciting ventures a country and its cities can undergo is that of modernizing and redeveloping its buildings. The progress made is almost always positive, and literally can give cities a new face. Major infrastructure projects in Vietnam are not so slowly transforming the city for the better, upgrading various aspects ranging from transportation to water treatment and infrastructure.
In Northern Upper East Ghana, a water conservation technology is enabling about 400 smallholder farmers from 10 communities to farm in dry seasons. As a result they are now getting at least two crop seasons annually as opposed to one, after implementing the PAVE irrigation Technology which harvests flood and rain water, and stores it in underground aquifers where it lasts for up to 180 days.
In Rwanda, a ‘Pico-hydro’ refers to a power system with a capacity less than 50kW. Their advantage over other power systems is their cost-effectiveness and simplicity, and come in different designs, planning and installation processes. It is an economical source of power that has proven useful in delivering clean energy to some of the world’s poorest and most remote places.
Whether they are consumed as grains or flour they are always products in high demand in Africa - these being cereals such maize, sorghum, millet and wheat. One of the issues with these widely consumed crops is when people want to grind them and consume them as flour, with most remote areas lacking access to electricity and therefore use expensive fossil fuel to run milling machines.
Better housing is one of the key indicators of the economic development, but most developing countries still have a challenge to secure clean homes for their habitants. Dirt floors are often responsible up to 80 percent of diseases. In most cases, parasites live in soil in form of feces and bacteria that can be contagious by either absorption or a simple contact. EarthEnable has introduced a solution to all those problems.
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.