Solar energy in rural Zambia

Energy is a vital ingredient to the development of rural communities and for poverty eradication. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all is a fundamental development goal that can be implemented regions such as rural Zambia.  According to the United Nations over 4.3 million people die due to indoor pollution resulting from cooking and heating with unsustainable fuels. Renewable and alternative energy resources could create the fastest and most efficient solutions to these types of issues.

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There is a variety of  renewable energy sources such as wind and hydropower, but solar energy would be the best to implement in rural Zambia because of the geographic characteristics of Zambia. Solar power has immense potential in Zambia where days are and the shortest day in the year having approximately 11 hours of sunlight. In association to this solar power is both economically sustainable and is environmentally friendly. Solar panel manufacturers offer the 25 year standard solar panel warranty, meaning that power output should not be less than 80% of rated power after 25 years, making solar power extremely sustainable.

Solar power is captured when energy from the sun is converted into electricity or used to heat air, water, or other fluids. This solar power could be implemented into the homes of Zambians through a system that carries solar panels on the rooftops of homes and/or schools and hospitals. Likewise, street lamps and house lamps can be, too, solar powered.

Because the people of rural Zambia lack the resource
s and the economic sustainability to afford electricity and powered stoves, lamps, heat, etc the use of solar power in these communities can be life changing to the most vulnerable people. Solar energy could potentially improve the livelihoods of students, mothers, professors, farmers, and families in general.

Solar powered lamps can improve educational practices for both professors and students. This resource would allow them to study or prepare for class at any time and even during the hours of darkness. More importantly, students would have the opportunity to use lamps to study at home without using homemade kerosene lamps that emit toxic smoke. Mothers could also use the solar energy by powering stoves and ovens to be able to cook without the possibility of intoxicating themselves or their families. Solar lights also neutralise the fire risk posed by candles and kerosene lamps and are also also free of toxic emissions. In hospitals and schools, having solar powered heaters and the opportunity to boil water would improve the health of the community overall by preventing possible diseases.

The implementation of renewable energy has the potential to develop the livelihoods of entire communities. Solar power reduces the risk of intoxication for many families, not to mention the economic sustainability that it offers. Although there is a cost during the initial development of the project, the long term sustainability of solar power makes
it a cost effective initiative.

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