The global financial crisis, combined with an oversupply of photovoltaics manufactured in China has put eyes on India as the new potential solar consumer. India is currently highly reliant on fossil fuels and is plagued by power shortages. And many people in India subsist without power at all. As such, alternative energy options are being sought out by the Indian government. India hopes to increase it solar capacity to 20 million kilowatts by 2022
With the sharp drop in the price of solar panels -- down to one-third that of three years ago according to one person in the industry -- and overstocked inventories at many suppliers, competition to sell into the Indian market is intensifying.
On May 11 – 12, the Solar Future Eastern USA 2012 Conference was held. Speakers agreed that within five years, solar energy in many areas of the US will be cheaper than power from the grid. The main factors leading to this proclamation are the continued decline in solar costs as well as the increase in the transportation costs of electricity.
The government is also a driver in this move towards a boom. Federal incentives are already in place that are helping to make solar affordable. Additional, state and provincial incentives will only tip the scales in favour of solar making an equal cost if not lower cost option for many North Americans.
Countries like Botswana with its Kalahari Desert are known to be hot, arid places. Information from Botswana's Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs indicates that Botswana receives 3,200 hours of sunshine annually or 21 milijoules per m2 per day. Even now, farmers in these sorts of climates rely on diesel to power their machinery. A shame considering how much solar energy is available.
But progress is being made. Some farms are installing solar panels with batteries to store the energy. Along with an inverter, the suns energy can be captured, stored and converted from DC into AC to provide power for light, TV's, computers and to charge phones. Not only does this allow small communities and farms to remain connected to the world, but it reduces the ongoing expense of having to continue to buy diesel fuel.
A team of students from San Juan College (New Mexico) are planning a photovoltaic (PV) installation at a medical clinic in the town of Sihurong, located on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The group is travelling with Conscious Journeys, a "volun-tourism" organization that recruits groups to do service projects in rural Tibetan villages.
The clinic provides villagers in the area access to western and traditional medicine. It was built in 2009 by Tibetan Village Project (TVP), a small-scale development NGO that partners with Conscious Journeys to raise money and volunteers for projects designed to improve the quality of life in rural Tibetan areas, preserve Tibetan culture, and promote sustainability. The clinic is run by the local monastery in Sihurong.