Weekly Review January 15-21

The idea that renewable energy can increasingly meet the energy requirements of emerging markets at grid-parity is a regular topic of discussion. Both the public sector and the private sectors are searching for ways to meet global energy requirements while decreasing dependence on unsustainable source of energy. Instead of the global oil markets, the usual suspects, now the radical advances in solar cell efficiency, declining costs of raw materials, and large-scale strategic initiatives from both the public and private sectors are leading the discussion.

Polysilicon Prices to Drop in 2012, Bringing Solar PV Prices to 70 Cents a Watt” by Stephen Lacey on Think Progress
While innovative financing solutions are certainly important for incentivizing adoption of alternative energies, the key to long-term renewable energy adoption is the overall cost and affordability. Polysilicon, for example, is an essential material for solar modules. Therefore, the declining cost of this raw material will encourage the adoption of silicon-based solar technologies. GTM Research’s Brett Prior says that the silicon supply will finally outpace the demand in 2012. With the laws of economics in place, the silicon surplus will help drive the price down.

Energy Consumption in the Developing World 2030” by Tom Fuller, Sungevity, on 3000 Quads
Fuller predicts that future global energy demand is severely underestimated, in particular, because of continued high growth in GDP and booming economic development in emerging markets. One key figure that Fuller claims is that developing countries’ energy demand could be underestimated by 57%. While this may be both good and bad, it is fair to say that consumption and demand in 2020 are not in equilibrium – it is likely that demand will outpace supply. There is a pressing need for sustainable energy solutions from both public and private institutions. Both sectors should increase their focus on alternative energies, as they will offer a more sustainable solution for rising global energy demand.

Chole Island Residents using computers powered by a SolarAid solar home system. Image Source: SolarAid

Solar brings IT and learning power to remote island” by Anna on SolarAid Blog
Last summer, SolarAid installed a solar power system on Chole Island, a well-known eco lodge off the coast of Tanzania. Recently, using this solar energy system, the Chole Mjini Trust Fund installed an IT system in the community center. Chole Island residents can now access computers and information technology for the first time.

Latin America Report: Critics Urge More Solar, Wind, Geothermal in Chile” on Renewable Energy World
Chile presents a large, untapped market for renewable energy. The long coastline, the volcanic activity, and the abundant sunshine close to the Equator all lend themselves as ideal resources for wind, geothermal, and solar power production. As such, the government is now facing pressure to encourage the adoption of renewable energy and decrease its dependence and vulnerability on imported supplies of oil and natural gas.

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