Receiving on average 365 days a year of radiant energy, Africa is endowed with abundant sun. Nevertheless, 85% Africans live in rural communities without electricity.
One thing about living in the tropics is the relentless heat. Even in the shade it can get pretty oppressive: all my attempts at home DIY have ended up in miserable failure, simply because I was sweating too much to do the work. But the heat inside is nothing compared to outside. The power of the tropical sun is incredible – even at 9.00 in the morning.
So with all this latent energy around, why isn't it being harnessed?
Well actually it is.
But not nearly as much as it should be. Especially since alternative forms of energy are irreversibly damaging the environment, threatening global catastrophe due to the emissions of huge amounts of carbon dioxide. As for nuclear power, it may seem the easy option, but perhaps that’s all it is: the easy option. Jakartass doesn’t trust the powers that be, and neither do I.
As for solar power, this is more up our street, being “ecologically and economically sound. An energy system that’s good for people and for the planet.”
You can read about solar power pilot projects in Indonesia here.
The main limiting factor with solar is the cost of course.
One 100watt solar panel will set you back at least US$400. And for a fairly large house you’d probably need 20 panels. The other problem is there’s no sun at night. So you have to invest in expensive batteries to store the energy while the sun shines. All in all, it could cost around US$20,000 to make a solar house in Indonesia.
Obviously too expensive for most people, but still a good investment. Especially since solar panels are much more durable than they used to be: now more than 20 years. So, as a rough calculation, you could probably break even in Indonesia if your electricity bill is more than around US$80/month.
If you’re interested in going down this path, click here.