Solar energy: affordable and clean
Solar energy does not only provide a sensible solution from a technical point of view. It also has the following three decisive advantages:
- It is clean and reliable.
- It is affordable.
- It is able to cover 80% of rural energy needs.
With the aid of solar energy it is possible to produce light inexpensively and cleanly, promoting education as well as economic development. At the same time, diseases of the respiratory system are also reduced.
Due to the early nightfall, social life and social exchange within a village community is extremely restricted. Furthermore, going out at night can be dangerous. For this reason there are only a few people abroad in the evening and their path is only sparsely illuminated by battery-operated torches. Solar street lights offer safety and enable a more varied communal life in the evening too.
Training people to use computers is certainly not the primary educational objective in rural schools. However, teaching computer skills in secondary schools can greatly improve the pupils' occupational opportunities when they leave school because many administrative, healthcare or business occupations require at least elementary computer skills.
Solar computers can not only help pupils, but also teachers (preparing lessons etc.).
In the rural health clinics of Africa medicines are usually kept cool in diesel-operated refrigerators. In comparison with these, solar refrigerators have decisive advantages: Operating reliability is considerably higher because there is no dependence upon fuel transportation and, in addition, operating costs are much lower. Furthermore, the medical personnel are also able to work in the evening and at night by the light of solar lamps.
Water is needed on the one hand for domestic purposes and on the other for irrigating the fields to ensure an adequate harvest. Solar energy provides an inexpensive and reliable solution to ensure the supply of indispensable water.
The people in rural areas frequently do not have water at their disposal which is suitable for drinking purposes. This promotes the spread of illnesses which, on account of the sparse healthcare services, either cannot be treated or only with a great deal of difficulty. Solar energy combined with suitable water disinfection plants can solve this problem and ensure a supply of clean drinking water.