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Are Solar Panels the New Trend?

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BY TREASURE PELEPELE

There has been a recent rise in energy costs and according to the Electricity Control Board a tariff increase of 5%, translating to an effective bulk tariff increase from N$1,61 per kilowatt-hour to N$1,69 per kilowatt-hour for the financial year 2018/19. On that same note, petrol and diesel prices has increased to an effective 60 cents per litre in June. The new pump prices at Walvis Bay will be N$12.30 per litre for 95 Octane Unleaded Petrol, N$12.63 per litre for Diesel 500ppm and N$12.68 per litre for Diesel 50ppm.

It is for these reasons; many people have begun the search for alternative sources of energy, one of which is the sun. The Sun is the yellow star at the center of the solar system that shines during the day. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process. It is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth.

William Grylls Adams in 1876 along with his student Richard Day, discovered that when selenium was exposed to light, it produced electricity. In 1953, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin, discovered the silicon solar cell. This cell actually produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices. The New York Times stated that this discovery was the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of harnessing the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.

The dependency on fossil fuel has increased to a point where we are at the verge of destroying planet earth. Global trends in solar energy are being significantly impacted by the realities of global warning. As the planet heats up, countries are finally taking notice. With the discovery of solar energy there is still hope for us to save the world from global warming.

These trends in solar energy in developing countries for example China, India and Brazil indicate that these countries will continue to take the lead in investing in renewable energy. This trend is important not only because more people are getting access to cheaper and more reliable power, but also a shift to renewable energy is good for the environment.  

However, people in isolated rural areas have no access to electricity. If there is any access at all, it is often provided by diesel generators. Burning kerosene lamps or traditional biomass such as cow dung in areas where electricity is not available harms humans as well as the planet.

Renewable energy is a global phenomenon on the upswing. For the foreseeable future, its growth is set to accelerate. But we have to ensure that progress is made in the right way. Our priorities and decisions now will determine how future societies benefit.

 Sources:

Victoria, C. (2017, June 29) The History of Solar Power. Retrieved from https://www.experience.com/advice/careers/ideas/the-history-of-solar-power/

GLOBAL TRENDS IN SOLAR ENERGY. Retrieved from https://venturesolar.com/global-trends-in-solar-energy/

Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun

Tanti, T. (2018, Jan 12) The key trends that will shape renewable energy in 2018 and beyond. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/clean-energy-renewable-growth-sustainable-key-trends/