photo: Curt Carnemark /World Bank
At the Solar Power International conference this week, one of the more interesting panels was one that looked at bringing solar to the developing world. As I wrote in The New York Times:
By 2020, the world’s biggest potential solar markets will be found in the developing world, areas largely ignored by solar industry today, according to executives working to bring renewable energy to rural regions.
Just 1 percent of the world’s solar panel production has been installed in developing countries, said Michael Eckhart, the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, during a panel discussion Tuesday at the Solar Power International conference in Anaheim, Calif.
“This is a scandal for our industry and we must find solutions,” said Mr. Eckhart, who has worked on solar projects in Africa and India.
The market in Africa, Asia and Latin America is potentially vast given that nearly 44 percent of the population of the developing world lacks access to electricity, according to Simon Rolland, a policy and development officer for the Alliance for Rural Electrification, based in Brussels.
Therein lies a conundrum: Bringing solar energy to those communities means building and financing off-the-grid solar arrays in remote locations that use batteries to store the electricity generated by the photovoltaic panels.
You can read the rest of the story here.