What is solar energy? “Solar energy is the technology used to harness the sun’s energy and make it useable.” Learn more about the different technologies used to make this happen in National Geographic’s website. From photovoltaic cells to large-scale solar thermal power plants, and from passive solar to overnight storage, the page has lots of information and basic definitions.
A key aspect to the question of using renewables over fossil fuel-based energies is how to make it work for communities, not just individuals. Read one family’s story about deciding whether to get solar panels for their home, and their efforts to join with other members of their community to put solar panels on a central building from which they could all benefit. In another example, this family was discouraged by the cost of having solar panels installed on their home, so they bought a kit and installed the panels themselves.
Check out this interview to learn how one young woman is working on bringing low cost solar energy solutions to developing countries. Her company, Roseicollis Technologies, is currently working with organizations in South Africa, Indonesia, Kenya, and the Philippines. The company is built around the SunSaluter, a $25 solar-panel rotator that “increase[s] a panel’s efficiency by as much as 40 percent…[and] is designed to benefit those in developing countries because it is easy to assemble and doesn’t require electricity.”
Another organization focused on bringing solar energy to developing countries is Solar Sister, a company that “eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. We combine the breakthrough potential of solar technology with a deliberately woman-centered direct sales network to bring light, hope and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa.”
This World Bank Renewable Energy Mapping Program helps “developing countries map their renewable energy potential in a new way that produces rich, nationwide data. The project goes beyond existing solar and wind maps to provide the granular data governments need to understand the country’s full resource potential and to pinpoint the best locations for serving the population.” Pakistan and eight other countries are joining the program and will be getting detailed data as they map out renewable energy resources in each country.
We hope these resources will provide you with interesting information about solar energy!