Most African families struggle to provide for their children, put food on their tables and electricity in their houses. One of the things that are in abundance in Africa is sunlight.
A brave African housewife dared to try and install one solar panel in her house. The price was hefty yet doable, and the children are ecstatic that they wouldn’t have to eat dinner in the dark, they can complete their schoolwork, and the mother can continue her housework after dark.
This is the story former president Barak Obama remembers after his visit to Kenya. However, this happy story is incomplete, the power that one installed panel provides is a bare minimum of what an average family in Africa would need, the rest is very expensive and there’re no payment plans to ask for.
The obstacle most Kenyan families face is lack of access to the national grid, and the US president also sat down to discuss how this problem could be solved as soon as possible.
In the developed countries, solar power already goes beyond and above its maximum capacity; the prices of solar cells are dropping because the production technology cost, e.g. the tools to monitor the deposition rate, is dropping. The West can help Africa find the balance between integrating both solar panel electricity and connecting people the grid. Right now there’s disparity, and the people of Africa have very limited access to the grid. When this problem is resolved, more and more families can enjoy the advantages of electricity.
Despite what you might have heard, climate change is very real and very serious. Scientific studies have proven the planet is getting warmer and warmer. Storms like hurricanes are getting more and more severe. We’re seeing normally warm weather events like tornadoes in the middle of winter. The polar ice caps are melting and as a result, sea levels are rising. If the trend continues, we face the very real possibility of several east coast cities eventually being partially or completely under water.
So what can you do? Plenty. Write to your representatives and senators to urge them to support climate change regulations. Donate to scientific organizations dedicated to fighting and educating about climate change. Talk to your friends and get them involved as well.
Other ways you can help include changing your commute. Cars contribute a tremendous carbon footprint, which contributes to climate change. Take public transportation, ride a bike, or get together with coworkers to create a carpool. Even better, see if you can work from home a few days a week.
Buy environmentally friendly products. Avoid those with excess or non-recyclable packaging. Avoid all types of Styrofoam, including packing peanuts. The manufacturing process contributes greatly to air pollution and the product itself is not biodegradable. Instead it sits in landfills for many years. Landfills are a huge contributor to climate change due to the massive amounts of methane gas they produce. To avoid adding to them, recycle as much as possible. Many cities encourage and even require recycling of paper, plastic, glass and metal. If you have a baby, consider using cloth diapers instead of disposable. Buy a steel or plastic water bottle that you can refill instead of buying packs of bottled water. Those plastic bottles build up in landfills and take many years to breakdown.
If you are really serious about fighting climate change, consider getting a degree in environmental science, meteorology or engineering and make climate change research your career. You can get started at online-engineering.case.edu. If you don’t want to make that kind of commitment, volunteer for non-profit organizations dedicated to environmental protection or climate change. Education is the strongest weapon of all.
Talk about climate change on social media. Direct people to solid, legit information sources and away from the plethora of fake news and propaganda sites. Don’t be afraid to correct misinformation or educate people.
Energy from the sun is a highly sustainable source adopted by many countries around the world. The United States is one of the top countries generating solar power, ranking fourth after China, Germany and Japan. The range of solar installation is wide and includes both the industrial and the private sector. Most popular is the use of rooftops for solar power generation, but utilities, manufacturers and other institutions also increasingly generate solar power.
The most solar power systems installed are in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts. When it comes to generation capacity, California also leads, followed by New Jersey and Massachusetts. California requires utilities to generate one third of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Photovoltaic power generation has grown with a rapid pace and is projected to continue its growth in many states as the cost for producing solar panels has gone down significantly, partly because of highly efficient tools to monitor solar cell production. Many manufacturers and researchers refer to k-Space, a leading supplier of analysis tools, that measure thin-film deposition rate, stress, and surface roughness in real time. It is estimated that by 2025, approximately 10 percent of power generated in the United States will come from solar energy.
The cost of solar panels today is approximately one-hundred times lower than 40 years ago and is expected to continue to fall in coming years. There are a number of reasons for this development, such as technological advancements and increased large-scale manufacturing that both result in lower production costs for solar panel components. For example, semiconductor wafers are a major component in solar cell manufacturing and advancements in their production, such as self-calibrating absolute temperature measurement, are a major factor in making high-quality and long-lasting solar panels.
This in turn leads to lowering consumer costs of purchasing and installing solar panels. Other factors, of course, are increased mass production and widespread implementation as well as attractive tax incentives around the world. All of this will shorten the time it takes until the installed solar panels pay for themselves, which will make them a good investment for more and more home and business owners and therefore increase production and lower costs even more.