Global Energy Updates

Most of the developing world finds itself in an energy crisis, with little to no access to the grid or unreliable power supply for those with access. The portion of the world with reliable energy on the other hand wastes billions of dollars worth of watts every year. The articles below discuss each of these energy problems and outline solutions that could save money while providing more.

Why Solar Energy is Key to Solving Global Poverty by Kristine Wong on Takepart
Solar energy is emerging as a way to give power to the 1.3 billion people in the world with no access to the grid. Thanks to solar panels installed in schools, like the local high school in Kunthur outside of Bangalore, India, students return home from school with fully charged batteries to light their homes for the night. Increased public investment in off-grid energy solutions could make access to light a possibility for the rest of the population. A report estimates that $500 million in public financing has the potential to spur a $12 billion off-grid solar market by 2030.

4 Lessons Pakistan’s Off-Grid Solar Market Can Teach the World by Justin Guay and Vrinda Manglik on Greentech Solar
Pakistan is facing an energy crisis. The majority of the rural population has no access to the grid and those that do face power cuts and supply shortages due to the country’s climate. Drought limits the use of hydropower and high oil prices make the existing energy supply unattainable for most citizens. Pakistan has the potential to be an off-grid solar leader of South Asia, rivaling India and Bangladesh, yet the government continues to focus on large-scale energy supply and grid solutions rather than turning to off-grid solutions. In light of this, EcoEnergyFinance took a different approach and put solar power directly into the hands of the people. The four lessons they learned from Pakistan’s Market can be extended beyond borders:
1. Giving away solar leads to market spoilage
2. Pay-as-you-go finance is the future
3. Word-of-mouth marketing is key
4. Market information is key
What is the key takeaway from these lessons? If EcoEnergyFinance is able to build and grow a company in a market environment like Pakistan’s, the future for off-grid solar systems looks bright.

This Startup Says it Can Make the World’s Cheapest Solar Panels by Katie Fehrenbacher on Gigaom
Siva Power, an eight-year-old startup claims that it will soon be capable of making the world’s cheapest solar panels, at only $0.28 per watt. To have the capacity to do so it will need to first build a $100 million, 300 MW pilot factory. Should the company succeed in its mission, the lightweight solar panels would be by far the most affordable in the world. Currently, competitors are capable of making similar lightweight panels for $0.55 to $0.75 per watt.

Around $80 Billion Wasted on Power for Online Devices by IEA
Inefficient technology is to blame for the $80 billion wasted each year by the world’s 14 billion online electronic devices. As economies become increasingly digital, there has been an increase in their electricity demands and subsequently, energy waste. To reduce this waste, we need to focus on creating more efficient devices, better policies, and a mixture of private and public financing support. If better energy efficiency measures were applied to online devices, 600 TWh of energy could be saved in the coming years.

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