Sunny side up – how renewables can save the world

The environmental change sweeping our world is happening at a rate far faster than previously imagined, concluded the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6) study carried out by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this year.
The move towards the provision of renewable energy through the South African renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (REIPPP) has been lauded as a positive reaction to the worst impacts of climate change.
“Renewable energy in general, and solar power specifically, allows for a reduction in the reliance on fossil fuels – while also providing a far superior option in terms of protecting the environment. The production of solar energy has minimal CO² emissions, little water usage, is inexhaustible, and it is safe,” says Paschal Phelan, chairman of Solar Capital,

A technology,not a fuel

Phelan explains that global electricity produced by solar power has doubled seven times over since 2000. “Part of the reason for this is that solar is not a fuel, but a technology. Owing to economies of scale and increasing efficiency, prices of solar technology and supply continue to fall, as does the price of batteries for energy storage. As a result, the need for fossil fuels is falling internationally. It is only developing countries like South Africa that are still adding coal to the energy mix, more as a result of a rapid demand for further energy supply.”

He adds that not only is solar energy readily and freely available, but the cost of solar technology has come down substantially in the last few years. “Internationally, the price has reduced as a result of technological innovation, the manufacturing learning rate, economies of scale and further competition.”…

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