Let There Be Light

The sun is a nuclear reaction on a massive scale, consistently burning its hydrogen fuel-rich core less than 93 million miles away from your face.

Each day our planet turns on its axis to face the inferno and in doing so, life on earth is sustained. It’s kind of a big deal.

Why is it then, that while we live in a world which has developed the technology to harness this power for our energy needs we continue to dig deeper into the earth, looking for stuff to burn? You don’t need to be a nuclear scientist to see the failed logic in this approach.

It’s been said that money makes the world go round and, whilst I’m fairly sure that modern science has firmly debunked this theory, the sentiment is hard to ignore.

That’s why investors and consumers need to step out of the shadows and lead solar power to becoming the serious contender in the energy market that it has the potential to be. But where do we start? Well, as with most world changing action let’s turn our gaze to small groups of dedicated individuals.

Mali is a slender, landlocked country in south east Africa. At first glance it might not seem like the setting of a green energy revolution, but with its ingenious resourcefulness and burgeoning solar businesses, we may have just found some hope.

Mali Folkecenter have also just opened a grid (a field of bigger solar panels, we have a few in the UK now) which is providing 100% renewable power to about 130 people in one village - all without burning a thing. Mali Folkecenter is a Christian Aid partner organisation. They support small, local businesses in handing out solar lamps as well as small batteries and bulbs. The technology is ridiculously simple and cheap. For the price of your morning coffee people can buy cheap technology to run their fridges, evening lights and water pumps all solar powered. It’s comically sustainable and cheap.

Ok, this isn’t solar energy production on a national or international level but in the space of ten years many parts of rural Mali have moved from a non-renewable, unreliable energy source to a predominantly sustainable, renewable one and all at very little cost.

So, should we all go and fill in our chimneys, take a hammer to the fuse box or install solar panels in the garden? Of course not, but if necessity is the mother of invention let’s look to those who’ve had to adapt and succeeded in doing so.

There are solutions to the world’s energy needs. We just need to open our eyes and see the light.

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Inspired? Check out this film.

There's also more to read here and this will take you to a brilliant Ted Talk from a guy in Malawi who built his own windmill from scrap.