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. The research takes into account the effects of falling system prices, tendering and auctions, which could result in a 109- gigawatt market of renewable solar energy by 2021
The rise of pay-as- you-go solar
As one of the longest-running forms of renewable energy on the planet, solar power is beginning to make real headway in emerging economies thanks to a new class of infrastructure investment: microgrids and pay-as- you-go solar. In a recent article published by Energy Transition, the many benefits of micro- grids for emerging economies, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia, are discussed at length. Naturally, as the development of off grid, renewable energy solutions across emerging economies continues to strengthen, there comes a greater need for off grid energy education. Solar-powered energy in particular is steadily making its way into more and more homes across Africa, Latin America and Asia. As its presence increases, we have a responsibility to ensure that families are shown how to efficiently manage the off grid energy resources now at their disposal.
The rise of emerging economies
Aside from the surge in pay-as- you-go and microgrid solar solutions across some emerging economies, there are four developing nations taking notable forward strides in other kinds of off grid energy solutions that are worth mentioning. Keep a keen eye over the coming 12 months on the off grid movements happening in China, Chile, Brazil and Kenya.
China recently made the global headlines by confirming that it plans to create an entirely new mega city from scratch, to be called Xiongan, and that it will power it exclusively by using off grid, renewable energy sources. The city is expected to span across a surface area of 2,000 square kilometres and hopes to house at least 2.5 million people, as well as many businesses, who will move to the city and ease severe congestion problems in neighboring Beijing. Cited as the world leader in renewable energy for the past few years, China plans to invest another 2.5 trillion yuan into off grid energy solutions by 2020, so watch this space!
Chile is home to El Romero, Latin America’s largest solar-energy plant located in the Atacama Desert. It is hoped that by April 2018, this plant will generate enough energy (196 megawatts to be exact) to provide lighting in a quarter of a million homes across the country. With no more than two or three cloudy days in a year, Chile is learning how to harness the natural and constant power of the sun in the Atacama Desert to its advantage. Latin America comes up trumps a second time thanks to the off grid energy work related to wind turbines in Brazil. Since 2009, more than 360 wind projects have been seen through to fruition, according to data published by Abeeolica, the country’s wind association.
Even though Kenya’s natural resources make it a prime candidate for geo- thermal energy, much of the off grid energy on offer is still highly underexplored at present. Having said that, its largest geo-thermal project, named Olkaria after its location (a region known for its powerful hot springs, fumaroles, searing rocks and sulfur-oozing fissures), has the potential to provide off grid energy to almost the entire country. Japan is one of the project’s major investors. This is definitely one the emerging economies to keep an eye on as we move into 2018.