The success of solar photovoltaics in the renewables industry has a simple explanation: sunlight is available all over the world. For this reason, solar power is called a ‘democratic energy source’. As photovoltaic cells can be installed practically anywhere, solar power is an efficient way of providing households and businesses with energy, without the grid losses of a centralised power system. A small solar cell earns its keep, generating up to 30 times the energy its initial creation requires.
Solar power investments in Africa
The expansion of solar power is worldwide, but significant changes have been made in several countries recently. As the continent with the highest insolation rate per year, Africa has much to win by investing in solar energy. Considerable efforts are now being made to enable African countries to reach their full potential when it comes to working for a sustainable future by developing clean energy. In Botswana, a mega-solar project is currently being planned, with the intention of building two 50 MW solar parks. With 3200 solar hours per year, Botswana is one of the countries that has the highest concentration of sunlight. The two mega-solar projects will be able to cover a measurable quota of the country’s energy demand. Similar positive projects are planned in Namibia and Kenya.
Successful small-scale businesses in solar power
In terms of job opportunities, recent reports indicate that the use of small domestic solar panels holds the potential to create employment especially in rural areas, where local businesses providing installation and maintenance of solar cells can enable households to become less reliant on grid power. It is the perfect opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in their area, to set up services for small-scale solar installations. Every year, the EEC trains hundreds of individuals in the essentials of installing, maintaining and repairing solar equipment for both domestic and commercial purposes.
Julian Igbo, EEC Alumnus and MEEC Member, received a Green Apple Award trophy at the UK Houses of Parliament for his project “The First Solar Tree in Africa”, installing an impressive 36-branched luminescent tree in Nigeria. Since the first tree was put in place, Julian has been using the skills that he gained from studying with the EEC to install solar trees which provide both light and colour to the city landscape. Julian’s solar trees are an excellent example of the creative versatility of solar cells.
Smart cities powered by the sun
Even in countries with a more modest amount of sunlight, developments in technology make it possible to optimise the power generated from the sun. Investing in solar power and Energy Storage proves to be a solid move for many cities to make. The concept of the ‘smart city’ is becoming more widespread as cities realise the many advantages of solar cells. City architects are now asked to incorporate solar photovoltaics into streetlight infrastructure and the facades of new buildings. Equally, Electric Vehicles are put forward as the most profitable and eco-friendly option for public transport, where solar powered carports are installed strategically around cities.
Career possibilities all over the world
The single-largest market for solar photovoltaics in the world is China, where solar power is now officially cheaper than grid electricity. It is estimated that 39% of the world’s renewable energy jobs are currently in China, but recent years have shown an increase in solar photovoltaics employment in India and Brazil and other countries. The rapid expansion of green energy in the last two decades demonstrates the efficiency with which renewable energy can be established, regardless of which energy source a country has been relying on previously. Becoming an expert in solar energy is to step through a wide-open door to a field of career possibilities all over the globe.
Do you want to work with Solar Photovoltaics? There are still a few spaces left on EEC’s Solar Photovoltaics Qualification course on 3rd – 4th October at the University of London. Book your place today:
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