How solar energy is revolutionising microfarming

a solar powered micro farm

A solar powered 2 hectare farm that arrives in a shipping container. Pic: Farm-out-of-a-box

The advantages of solar energy in rural communities is well documented. Particularly those who are located in more remote parts of the land and countries where access to the grid is difficult, if not impossible.

For isolated communities in developing countries face enormous problems, both financial and logistical, to access centralised energy. To remedy this, aid organisations now supply people with solar panels for energy, lighting and heating. However this week saw news of a partnership between solar inverter leader SMA and practical aid group Farm from a Box that promises to take solar energy and micro-farming to a new level. [Read more…]

Facebook, solar energy and drones join to connect billions to the Internet

facebook drone

Solar Power – delivering the internet to millions. Image: Facebook

What do Facebook, solar energy and drones have in common? Not a great deal you may think; after all drones have a sinister reputation in our day and age. For they are usually thought of as accessories to destroy, maim or kill, the latest in warrior technology designed to conquer and “take out” perceived or real enemies.

Indeed it’s difficult to think of a drone being used for a positive purpose such as to help people connect, interact and research. However Facebook is out to prove us wrong on this point with its Aquila drone and it is solar energy that will power this drone connectivity revolution. [Read more…]

Time to ignite an African solar power revolution

A recent World Energy Outlook report found that over two-thirds of people in Africa live without electricity, a shocking statistic that costs the continent in health; investment, pollution and education opportunities. This lack of energy infrastructure has stalled GDP growth across the continent and underlined the need for an African solar power revolution to fill the energy. [Read more…]

India’s renewable energy sector on cusp of greatness

indian flag and solar panels

India is embracing solar in a big way: 100 GW installed by 2022

As we in Australia struggle with a federal government attitude to renewables halfway between apathy and utter neglect, things continue apace on the sub continent. Indeed India’s renewable energy policy is now primed to make the country one of the world’s leaders in alternative energy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made the development of alternative energy — such as solar power — a priority since his election in mid 2014. In the latest phase of his government’s exciting policy development, the Indian government has announced the creation of a federation of 50 solar power-rich nations with India at the head of the grouping. [Read more…]

Focus shifts to solar power in developing countries

solar in south africa

A solar powered village in Zululand, South Africa.

Industrialised countries have seen an explosion in renewable energy in recent years but are developing countries proceeding at the same rate? An announcement this week by Norfund — the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries — has highlighted the role that renewables play in the developing world. Indeed renewables like solar power in developing countries looks to be The Next Big Thing in clean energy investment.

Norfund is to partner with Norwegian solar investment company Scatec Solar to provide an expansion of solar power investment into all areas in which the Norwegian government currently operates. Existing solar investment partnerships are already in place with the two combining in 190 MW of clean energy projects in solar projects in South Africa and Rwanda.

[Read more…]

Solar lighting: Mandarin 2 adds style to practicality

The Victorian Premier’s Design Awards are currently being judged. Not your usual port of call for this correspondent I hear you say but bear with me readers! That’s because one of the many excellent designs under consideration is the Mandarin 2 solar-charged light which is flying the flag for solar lighting under the category “product design”.

Described on the Design Awards site as a “simple” design that “works” under the toughest of conditions, the Mandarin 2, as its name implies, offers a robust solar lighting alternative to more expensive and polluting energy sources such as kerosene. The handheld solar charged light is described as durable and reliable and ticks that important box for SQ readers — powered by renewable source — solar. [Read more…]

Kenya’s micro solar lamp revolution lights up the nation

a solar panel on a Kenyan roof

A typical residential solar system in Kenya! flickr: jbarrie

One of your correspondent’s favourite pastimes at the end of a furiously scribbling day is to relax by listening to podcasts from around the world. Whether it be catching up with the latest world news or getting the dirt on the latest papal conspiracy/financial meltdown/political affray, you can find me in my comfy armchair during the late afternoon plugged in to the world. Never a dull moment I always say! Of course podcasts are also a great research tool and solar energy radio shows are always at the top of my subscription list. [Read more…]

Innovative solar energy project to aid off-grid rural communities in Africa

The British-based solar energy charity organisation SolarAid has teamed up with Cambridge-based solar technology company Eight19 to provide solar energy at affordable prices to poorer people in rural parts of Africa.

SolarAid are a charity group working in rural areas throughout eastern and southern Africa with a bunch of great ideas. According to their website they believe jobs and business opportunities for poorer people in the rural areas of Africa is important. [Read more…]

Solar Power: Finally Cheaper Than Diesel For Rural Indian Microgrids

Ever stopped to think how solar power can help rural and remote communities across the globe?

A study by cleantech research company Pike Research has predicted that solar pv will play a big role in the growth of world microgrids.

These are the small energy grids for isolated communities which can power anything from villages to small islands. Mobile grids also fall in this category.

Previously the chief form of energy for these  grid systems has been diesel however the study has shown that solar energy will replace this traditional dirty form of fuel.

[Read more…]