Reducing carbon footprint in Africa via Solar Energy

The idea of how to reduce the carbon footprint in Africa has been in the news lately. What exactly is the meaning of Carbon footprint? It is the quantity of greenhouse gas (Carbon dioxide) which is released into the environment via conventional or unconventional activities.

Africa unfortunately, relies heavily on fossil fuel-based energy sources, which contributes majorly to carbon footprint in the continent. An amazing fact about Africa is that it has an enormous capacity for Solar Energy potential. This is due to the enormous amount of sunshine across the continent. This huge potential has remained largely untapped. Sadly, an estimated 500 million Africans out of a population of 1.3 billion do not have access to electricity.

In 2011, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a report on renewable energies in Africa. In the report, it was shown clearly how 59.6% of the mostly rural population is still grappling with access to electricity.  The huge energy deficit in Africa is no doubt an opportunity to be utilized by adopting the Solar Energy solution.

Sources of electricity in Africa is Fossil fuel-based and contribute heavily to the increasing quantity of carbon footprint in the continent. Sadly, more than 70% of electricity generated in Africa comes from fossil fuel.

It is important to note, that the burning of coal, oil, and Gas flaring by multinational oil companies, are major causes of Carbon footprint in the continent. The cement production process also contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases which creates this Carbon footprint. Deforestation, which is a common occurrence in most countries in the continent, is also a major contributor to the high quantity of Carbon footprint in the environment.

In the face of these gloomy figures and challenges, the adoption of a Solar Energy solution cannot be overemphasized. It comes with huge benefits, chief among which is the reduction of carbon footprint. Solar-powered street lights, rather than street lights that are powered by heavy Diesel generators, can help curtail the rise in Carbon footprint.

One major benefit that will result from the adoption of Solar energy and its associated products in Africa, is the clean and renewable energy source it provides. It is not only environmentally friendly but also inexpensive when compared to fossil fuel-based energy solutions.

It is common knowledge that greenhouse gases like CO2 are the major cause of respiratory health diseases in the continent. There have also been deaths recorded from inhaling fumes from fossil-fuel driven generators which are very lethal. Solar energy solutions are made up of Photovoltaic solar panels. These are embedded in large solar farms within a mini-grid setup that can generate electricity while emitting Zero greenhouse gases.

For example, it has been discovered by researchers, that adopting solar energy solution can reduce carbon footprint. Every Kilowatt of solar energy installed has been found to reduce carbon footprint by as much as 1.36 tonnes annually.

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