From shipping containers as solar-powered internet hubs to solar charging of cell phones in isolated communities, clean technology innovation is alive and well in poor communities around the Globe. But as solar power is becoming cost-competitive with kerosene, the results can be measured in more than just economic and community development terms. EnvironmentalExpert.com reports that Sierra Club chairman Carl Pope is issuing a major call for serious investment in distributed solar around the world, arguing that the greenhouse gas reductions alone could be extremely significant:
Providing the poor with off-grid renewable energy requires capital to buy solar power; business models that allow households to pay for what they use, making electricity less expensive than kerosene; and supply chains and distribution networks. 'The money is on the table. It's just on the wrong plates,' says Pope.
He calls for Rio+20 negotiations to embrace distributed solar power and replace kerosene, an expensive and dirty fuel. This would save 1.5 million lives every year (kerosene emits almost as much greenhouse gas pollution as the UK economy), raise income for the world's poorest fifth by 25–30 per cent, and create demand for expanding solar systems. And it could result in half of the world relying on renewable power, says Pope