More and more people around the world are realizing how much sense it makes to generate electricity from a source no one has to worry about running out for a very long time: the sun. And incredible solar energy projects are happening all over the world -- and beyond!
Solar energy continues to make gains. Solar panels keep coming down in price. Why pay for electricity when you could make your own? And if you make more than you need, you can get paid for it!
This is not even mentioning the environmental benefits of getting more of our power from the sun, including none of the pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels to generate power. To get you inspired about using solar energy, we thought you might be interested in checking out these four innovative solar projects.
The non-profit organization GivePower recently brought one of the most innovative solar energy projects online in Kiunga, Kenya. What’s especially innovative about this project is that it tackles two serious challenges at the same time: Generating electricity from a renewable source while at the same time utilizing some of the power to turn ocean water into drinking water. People in developed nations often take access to clean drinking water for granted, but nearly a billion people around the world, it’s a daily struggle. GivePower’s first Solar Water Farm is located along the shoreline of the Indian Ocean. The system includes advanced filtration technologies and solar-powered desalinization that takes salty water in and turns it into clean drinking water. The Solar Water Farm produces enough drinking water for 35,000 people each and every day!
In Serbia a company called Strawberry Energy is making smart benches that are now popping up in cities all over Europe. This is a great example of innovative solar energy projects that bring together multiple technologies to make public spaces smarter. These smart benches come in a variety of styles, are powered by solar energy with a 100% standalone energy system, serve as free charging stations for multiple devices, provide a 4G/LTE free WiFi hotspot, and also provide all kinds of relevant local information. As the company says, “The future is here, take a seat!”
This one is still very much in the idea phase, but could be a real game-changer among innovative solar energy projects. The rationale is simple: If you could collect the sun’s energy in space, that energy would be available 24/7/365 and never interrupted by weather conditions. The trick, of course, is how to get the energy back to Earth. The idea is transmit the solar energy back to Earth as low-intensity microwaves that can then be converted into electricity at receiving stations. The only issue with this innovative idea right now is the huge expense involved in launching anything into space. In other words, it’s still more cost effective to set up solar power on good old terra firma. But several countries are still pursuing the idea of space-based solar power (SBSP), including the United States, Japan, China, and Russia.
Once upon a time near the city of Huainan, China, there was a large coal mine. An explosion caused the coal mine to collapse. Heavy rains flooded the abandoned mine, creating a large lake. The water of this lake is so highly mineralized that it is essentially unusable. But Sungrow power company saw an incredible opportunity. It created a floating solar farm. The 166,000 solar panels cover an area larger than 160 football fields. It generates 40 megawatts of power, which is enough to provide electricity to around 15,000 homes.
This one deserves special recognition among innovative solar energy projects because of how it repurposes land previously wrecked by the extraction of one the most heavily polluting fossil fuels – coal. One of the bonuses of floating solar panels is that the water keeps them cooler. Being surrounded by water also means there’s less dirt and dust that accumulates on panels. Both of these bonuses boost the efficiency of the solar panels by as much as 10%. Think about all the drinking water reservoirs that could be generating renewable electricity in projects like this, which would also reduce the amount of evaporation that takes place. Check out an article by NRDC about how floating solar farms catch on in California.
The four innovative solar energy projects described above are inspiring. They show how people all over the world are realizing that utilizing the renewable energy of the sun for making clean electricity is an idea that must be expanded to avoid all the negative impacts that come from continuing to burn fossil fuels for power generation. How about you? Are you ready to play your part in the transition to renewable energy by installing a home solar energy system? If you are, NEEECO is ready to help you make it happen!
Visit our solar page to learn how you could start cutting your energy bills with a home solar system. Solar panels are more affordable than ever before, and we offer several different innovative ways to finance your system. We can also help make sure you have power when you need it (such as during a power outage) with the latest battery storage technologies. If you’d like to ride the solar energy wave to big utility savings, contact NEEECO today!