Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Some facts about solar power and how SolarAid, a UK registered charity, plans to use them.

The earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in a whole year. Solar power could provide a huge amount of energy.

Photo by Flickr user Giorgio. Creative Commons Licence.

The panels used are sturdy and dependable. They are usually guaranteed for 25 years and should last at least 50 years.

Two billion people in the world have no access to electricity. The areas of the world where the sun shines abundantly and with a greater intensity are in the main those that need electricity most. SolarAid helps to redress this through small-scale solar projects.

Because of poverty, people in Africa cannot afford solar power but lack of electricity is one of the causes of poverty – a vicious circle, which is why SolarAid focuses on these regions, using solar power for education and health.

Africa as a continent is one of the lowest users of fossil fuels so contributes least to emissions of greenhouse gases, and yet is very vulnerable to climate change with floods and drought becoming more common, changes are occurring in seasonal patterns, lakes and rivers are drying up, some diseases are re-appearing.

Many people living in rural areas in Africa, use kerosene lamps for lighting and fires for cooking. Both produce significant levels of CO2 and are bad for health. The kerosene lamps could be replaced by solar lamps and the fires by solar cookers.

Photo by Flickr user Barefoot Photographers of Tilonia. Creative Commons Licence

SolarAid believes that communities can have the power to create their own sustainable development. It trains local communities in DIY solar skills: how to build small devices such as solar-powered radios and lanterns, which can then be sold to make an income.

SolarAid was started by employees of Solarcentury which has committed to pay 5% of its annual net profit into SolarAid


  1. That is the most promising project I've heard of in a long time. Giving hope. Excellent video!

    We should have explored the opportunities much more a long time ago!!!!!

  2. This sounds like an excellent project.
    We had no electricity when we lived on our Irish island, so we bought a couple of solar panels. They worked well, but we'd have needed many more to cope with dull Irish winters, and they were just too expensive.
    African sun would be perfect!


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