Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Solar power: who uses the most?

From the latest Scientific American magazine, which I've been continuing to happily read on the bus:

Surprisingly, Kenya is the global leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita (but not the number of watts added). More than 30,000 very small solar panels, each producing only 12 to 30 watts, are sold in that country annually. For an investment of as little as $100 for the panel and wiring, the system can be used to charge a car battery, which can then provide enough power to run a flourescent lamp or a small black-and-white television for a few hours a day. More Kenyans adopt solar power every year than make connections to the country's electric grid.
Interesting, no? The article goes on to mention that the demand for small solar power systems is rapidly increasing throughout Africa.

As renewable energy technologies continue to mature, they'll play a big role in shaping the economy and culture of specific regions. It's clearly already starting to happen: solar is thriving in Africa, wind turbines are sprouting up all over Europe.

When I was in high school, we learned how countries are differentiated based on their main exports. I remember how a classmate of mine got frustrated and questioned the value of this sort of knowledge. "Why do I need to know that cork is a main export from Portugal?" he asked. The teacher couldn't come up with a good answer. Ironically, because of that moment, I'll always remember that cork is a main export from Portugal.

Will kids in future school classrooms differentiate countries based on their renewable energy industries?


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2 comments:

apostata said...

Quote: "Why do I need to know that cork is a main export from Portugal?" he asked. The teacher couldn't come up with a good answer. Ironically, because of that moment, I'll always remember that cork is a main export from Portugal.

Jonathan,

Nice. A very insightful piece.

Matt

Solar Power said...

Yes, Africa is very good country for solar power stations, so many sun and space. But some other countries also can have many solar power stations. And I believe this sphere will develop with years and can substitute other energy sources.