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Aussie Team Tries to Bring Solar Power to African Villages


Solar panelsApproximately 400 million people in India lack access to electricity. However, initiatives from an enthusiatic organisation of young and bright minds are readily addressing this issue with small-scale solar power.

Pollinate Energy, founded by a small group of young Australians, has been actively involved in assisting people across rural villages to make the transition from kerosene to solar-powered devices. Many individuals still depend on the former for basic provisions such as lighting and fuel for stove tops.

Other than kerosene, solid fuels still consist of approximately 80% of fuels for people in India, and remain as key fuel sources in other developing regions around the world, such as nations within south-east Asia, Africa and South America.

Other organisations such as SolarAid have been active in tapping into the growing requirements for energy security and autonomy amongst people in developing nations (especially to power essentials within homes).

One of the major benefits with this decentralised, small-scale appoach is how it bypasses the need for extensive infrastructure involved in the distribution and supply of power. It is a similar phenomenon to mobile (cell) phone telephony that has provided cheap and realible access to audio communication for hundreds-of-millions of Indians (let alone billions globally).

These factors, in addition to improving technology and cheaper unit prices (due to more demand for the infrastrucure has made (and will continue to make) solar power a more viable option in the years to come.

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  1. I’m still amazed at how harnessing Solar is ALWAYS an attempt to assist ‘conventional’ AC power needs. Where there is no existing, or maybe inadequate AC infrastructure, the perfect platform exists for pushing Solar in the direction of individually contained, low-voltage DC. Think of it, a lot of domestic appliances already convert AC (house current) into DC low-voltage automatically, and those that don’t can be easily re-engineered to do so. Solar has never been practical, but only because of the need, ideally, for a storage device, and the conversion/inversion needed to support devices/appliances alternatively already on the AC grid. Inasmuch as some liquid fuel is available in most of these environments, and new ‘high tech’ diesel generators are now available, thus a Self-contained Solar Powered Model would require a less sophisticated infrastructure (basically in support of emergency or backup). After all, we’ve known for 1/2 a century, the colossal energy waste associated with incandescent light bulbs, but we’e are just beginning to turn our attention to ‘compact’ fluorescent type bulbs. But further research into low-voltage DC indicates that via the LED/Fiber/Lense concept, domestic lighting can be multiplied without loss of lums over great distances, reducing the cost of domestic lighting still further.

    50 yrs ago, all of these technologies were ‘shelved’. . . . . due to the inexhaustible supply of oil, particularly “our” oil in the Middle East. Of course, however, most of the low-voltage technologies, that are giant leaps forward were discovered gradually over time. Note though, that transferring light, over optic fibers, without heat, and without loss of lums has been known since the early 60’s and simply defies the concept of Energy as we know it – as Energy is Heat.


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