Everyday Renewables

Solar energy to mitigate climate change

The shift of fossil-fuel based energy consumption towards renewable energy sources needs more focus. One of the main challenges is in the case of developing countries, where insufficient funds and technology are slowing down the transition process.

To accelerate the transition, a new decentralized, consumer-based renewable energy strategy should be implemented. Solar technology is especially an ideal approach for this and its potential to mitigate climate change is definitely underestimated. Governments have to develop a set of policies to make it easier for consumers to access solar services and products, and facilitate private funds and multilateral financing for this objective.

Here are six other important governmental policies that could foster a faster and more efficient shift from fossil-fuels to renewable energy:

1. One policy supported by many countries around the world is to get rid of the inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies. While this can result in increasing energy prices in the short-term, the money that governments could save can be used in renewable energy research and development to reduce manufacturing and installation costs, improve solar panels efficiency, and promote a faster switch from fossil-fuels.

2. Stimulate renewable energy manufactures to create standardized solutions for home products to make it easier for the consumers to purchase and install these products. Solar arrays are not designed for small-scale installations. For example, installing a residential solar system requires a complex technical knowledge and experience for considering the positioning of solar panels and setting up the entire circuit – comparable to mega-solar installations. On the other hand, solar panels should be easily installed, similar to other consumer appliances such as refrigerators.

3. Encourage the use of electric vehicles that offer a fast and better financial benefit to consumers. This promotes the usage of renewable energy to decrease the negative effects of air pollution and from transport. More focus should be on research and development of higher capacity batteries and public charging stations.

4. Increase expenditures for renewable energy research, to improve efficiency. Commercial solar panels have only up to 22 percent efficiency rating (that is conversion of solar energy into electricity). This study, for example, show that efficiency can be doubled. But if there are not enough funds for research, we won’t see this in home solar panels anytime soon.

5. Feed-in tariffs allow renewable energy producers to gain financial benefits from the electricity grids with long-term contracts. When homeowners produce excess energy from their solar panels, they can sell that excess energy back to their utility company at a fixed price.

6. Establish a dedicated consumer financing scheme for decentralized solar products. This strategy may require a significant initial investment to function successfully but it will attract more global financial companies and shareholders interested in renewable energy.

Further reading:

http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/te/ENRE/4/Ch11_Energy_4E.pdf

 

Author :
Print

Leave a Reply