Why Solar is an Environmentally Friendly Choice
Due to the global Covid19 pandemic, this year’s World Environmental Day will be commemorated under varying country lockdown restrictions, across the globe. As we celebrate this day in our respective environments, one of the most interesting observations we made is the marked improvement in the environment, notably the reduction in air pollution – which sadly, is attributed to less economic activity as opposed to the adoption of deliberate efforts to invest in sustainable and cleaner ways of living. The lockdown has put a strain on businesses and individuals, but it cannot last forever. It does however present an opportunity for us all to map a way forward; towards the creation of a “new normal”, which can include the uptake of a greener, environmentally friendly, safer and sustainable way of living and doing business.
As the world moves cautiously towards rebuilding its economies, and as it continuously transitions into the fourth industrial revolution, there is no greater need than that of rapidly adopting cleaner, renewable energy for commercial and social purposes. Renewable energy can be the future source for powering new technologies for smart cities, and various energy dependent industries.
Africa’s electricity mix shows a high dependency on both water and fossil fuels for power generation, and over the recent years, power supply in most of sub-Sahara Africa has been very erratic. Amongst other reasons, this has been due to the use of antiquated power plants and old technology. Additionally changing climatic conditions have affected rain patterns and seasons, and led to a marked decline in hydro-power generation countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia. The installation of large commercial solar photovoltaic solutions could address Zimbabwe’s energy deficit, and meet the country’s solar energy potential of an estimated 5kWh/m2/year, and in tandem with the country’s commitment to reduce 33% of its carbon footprint by 2030, businesses are being encouraged to adopt renewable sources of energy.
It is estimated that for every 1kg of wood burnt, approximately 1,9kg of carbon dioxide is emitted as well as other potent gases such as nitrogen dioxide, methane and large amounts of carbon monoxide. (Hopkins). The use of firewood and fossil fuels over a long period of time, results in deforestation, climate change and various other negative health and environmental issues, that affect biodiversity and the earth’s natural eco-system.
Commendably, environmentally conscious businesses across Africa have begun adopting hybrid solar solutions, as a sustainable, scalable and eco-friendly option. The impact on the environment from the use of solar is positive as the amount of greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Last year, Distributed Power Africa saved over 100,000 trees through CO2 emissions savings on deployed solar plants for customers across Africa. Organisations such as Liquid Telecoms, Schweppes, UNESCO, Surrey, Ecobank, Delta, Tanganda, Africa Data Centres, Econet, St Gobain, Luxaflor, Kefalos and others have been part of this GREEN milestone – adopting solar as a cost effective sustainable business strategy. As solar can be deployed on already existing infrastructure such as roof-tops and carports, the physical environment is largely left untouched, and can have a positive impact on the ecosystem as reforestation efforts are increased.
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