Even today, more than one billion of the world’s population live without electricity and do not use solar energy. Not having access to electricity has a direct impact on lifestyles, whether it is night-time activities, keeping food in a refrigerator, recharging a cell phone, etc.
A number of countries have adopted new approaches and have managed to extend access to electricity to millions of people in recent years. However, much remains to be done to achieve universal electrification by 2030, in line with the 7th Sustainable Development Goal (SD Goal).
Solar energy: a sure way to make up for energy shortages
In order to achieve universal access to energy by 2030, more rapid progress is needed; and solar energy seems to be the adequate and most economical solution to ensure that a significant part of the population without access to electricity can benefit from it.
At the same time, photovoltaic solar energy is developing in multiple forms, as with Estia Synergie which offers: lighting (solar street lamps or solar lanterns), off-grid mini power plants (a few kilowatts), industrial roofs for self-consumption (from several tens to hundreds of kilowatts), large solar fields…; which are adapted to any type of need. Photovoltaic installations have the particular advantage of being quick to build in isolated areas.
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Solar energy: a factor in poverty reduction
For individuals, even access to a reduced amount of electricity could lead to salutary improvements in agricultural productivity, health, education, communications and access to clean water. It could therefore be concluded that solar energy can easily contribute to poverty reduction.
Options to increase access to electricity in developing countries focus primarily on increasing central energy from fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal by expanding the electricity grid. But this approach has few benefits for the rural poor. Extending the grid in these areas is either impossible or too costly.
So there is a clear need to find ways to improve access to electricity in the developing world that are pro-poor and low-carbon: and solar energy could be that solution.
Solar energy is still under-utilized and is an interesting alternative on which governments and the World Bank must bet more.