80% of World’s Population are Without Electricity
According to the research done for the Millennium Development Goals, there are approximately 6 billion people in this world and about 80% of them do not have access to electricity. The majority of these people are located in India and sub-Saharan Africa. Around four out of five people of those lacking access to electricity live in rural areas. By 2030, due to absence of energy policies, 1.4 billion people will still have no access to electricity.
Energy poverty will be a major issue in the coming decades. What is vital are the investment requirements for power generation in developing countries. From studies and estimation, this will amount to 2.1 trillion US dollars for the next 30 years. Research has shown that 400 million homes are without grid electricity and that these homes use the following as substitutes: kerosene lanterns, candles, car batteries, and diesel/kerosene generators.
Benefits of Solar Photovoltaic Energy for the Consumer in Developing Nations
If consumers in developing nations had access to solar photovoltaic energy, they would have brighter light at the flip of a switch and would have a cooler, more concentrated light. They would also have television without transporting heavy car batteries 2-4 hours a week as well as radio without the cost of dry cell batteries. In addition, consumers would have improved earnings from being able to work later in artisan shops and brighter lights for their shops without the use of expensive lanterns or generators. They would also have increased use for mobile phones and computers in their village areas.
Benefits of Solar Photovoltaic Energy for the Government
There are also benefits of solar photovoltaic energy from the standpoint of the Government. Solar photovoltaic energy is the cheapest alternative to grid extension in remote households without electricity. By using solar photovoltaic energy, it helps the economy in different ways: by giving those in rural areas a trained skill set; and increasing jobs in the area of business management, sales and marketing and installation and maintenance.
Solar photovoltaic energy reduces emissions at the point of use and therefore promotes a better health and environmental impact on the citizens of developing countries. It increases the likelihood of success for children as they are able to study into the evening hours. Best of all it dramatically improves the quality of life by bringing convenience, safety, entertainment and connectivity to the home.
Europe’s Initiative for Solar Voltaic Energy
The European Union has an admirable target for renewable energy. The Energy Package adopted by the Commission on January 10, 2007 proposes to obtain 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Developing nations can actually benefit from emulating the European Union’s ambitious objectives. Renewable energy, and sustainable energy at that, can bring significant changes and benefits to developing nations. These play a role in the reduction of poverty and improvement of the lives of the people.
Challenges to Bring Energy Sources to Developing Nations
The first challenge is economic as there is a need for increased supply of the appropriate energy source. Renewable energy such as solar, hydro-electric, biomass and wind can make a significant contribution to fighting the problems caused by the consumption of fossil fuels; which involves dependence on petrol producers, high fossil fuel prices, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. With the rapid rise in world oil prices, the price of importing energy commodities continues to escalate.
A second, important energy-related challenge is environmental. Energy use is a significant and immediate cause of high levels of air pollution and other forms of environmental degradation in many developing countries. Energy-related emissions from power plants, automobiles, heavy equipment and industrial facilities are largely responsible for levels of ambient air pollution—especially in major cities.
Getting electricity to developing nations can have its challenges, but they can be overcome. Proper solutions can be engineered after evaluation of existing or lack of existing grids to determine the best way to build or augment a system of efficient power output. Remaining mindful of the aggressive energy goals of both Europe and in California, more solutions can incorporate the use of solar photovoltaic energy for developing nations, which can make the increased availability of energy less expensive on both the pocketbook and on the environment.