Portable Solar Energy Needs to become a reality at all ground levels

TIME to Rethink Energy

 

Solar Energy is renewable, it is non-polluting and contributes to mobilising job creation and sustainable development in communities wherever there is access or where it has been installed.

For the unbanked poor living In places like Africa, Asia and Latin America, and Europe, Solar energy is a key building block associated with sustainability in agriculture, health services, education, industry and poverty eradication.

Building Local Capacity

The need for electrical power in today’s world is undeniable. Everything from lighting, mobile devices, laptops and power-tools are in constant need of some form of electrical current or charge. For this reason the ascendancy in the use of off-grid solutions that are built for purpose not only in small lighting systems but to to run laptops, power-tools along with other appliances that support end-uses and livelihood development, are necessary to help mobilize productive socio-economic development potential in economic sustainable development.

While the situation is improving, emerging nations for decades have struggled economically to finance low-cost electrical power to citizens across vast distances and, inbetween rural and urban neighborhoods. Unfortately however, solar power advancement has largely been limited to small led light systems while in the upper markets, the commercial focus, mostly expensive, has been on costly household and industry packages. What is missing for those populations without adequate affordable power, is access to knowledge, skills and the availablibity of possible use of safe, portable solar power sources.

Given the gaps in centralised infrastructure and, given the cost of solar power cells are coming down, it makes perfect sense to re- think how specific purposein the consumption of portable solar power usage in off-grid design. This could play a greater strategic role for the millionsof people, who are still left without universal access to electricity.

A Market Gap in Portable Solar Power

Portable Solar Power systems, while practicial is largely unavailable in places of abundant need. This is partly due to a market gap and partly because better information about these systems, is still tricky to find.

For example, after some research I discovered that few portable solar charge power/battery kits can be found in the market places like The Gambia in West Africa. The issues surrounding why there is such scarcity appears largely to do with a) air-freight policy regulations which restrict commercial batteries packs over 100 watts to be delivered as cargo into markets of The Gambia. And b) exclusive market neglet.  When it comes to sea-frieight, is hard to find shipping companies that will service customers with non-business credentials. China and Alibaba deliver some goods to these areas but information is complex and you need to order bulk for it to be all worth while.

Additionally, I found that local Gambian citzens are excluded from most online markets such as Ebay, Amazon and Alibaba, because most Gambian citizens do not have a house number or street address. In The Gambia, the whole system works from a Government identification card. This may work well from within The Gambia but is a setback when a Gambian citizen trys to fill out the form to buy something from Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba or similar global entities that absolutely require entry of a formal street address.

Forgotten Fifth

In todays world, essential infrastructure such a electricity is necessary for survival. And as stated by a website called "Why Electricity Matters" not having it is a key underlying reason why millions of people are attempting to migrate across the world, in search of a better life. Electricity, like water health and housing is essential infrastructure for survival.

However, I partly disagree with the article "Mini-grids will not power Africa alone by 2030".

I absolutely agree that Mini-grids themselves will not power Africa by 2030. I disagree that African nations need to build costly coal-fired power grids when the advancement of solar and other energy sources are becoming cheaper and readily available.

Instead I suggest that it is the Solar Energy Market itself that we must target. With prices in Solar Power comodities falling rapidly and progressing at a rapid rate, the cost of building Coal Power Stations would be a backward step. Africa like other underdeveloped nations will benefit both in the short and long-term by cultivating local knowledge in alternative energy sources. A greater part of the solution is in Portable Solar as well as small off-grid Cluster-Solar integration. For example Blockchain with technology to fuel peer-to-peer solar energy, across neighborhoods. These systems can be made afforable by being funded locally as well as by other investors and small business enterprises. Additionally we can read case studies about off-the-grid solar power Sovereignty from First-Nations in North America who are now doing it for-themselves.

 

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