Social Good or Impact Investing in Solar in Emerging Markets - renewables.org Skip to content

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From mythology to reality, the sun has always been a powerful presence in our lives. Now, it has also come to the rescue when the world is reeling from the overuse of fossil fuels. Solar energy is showing great promise as a viable alternative to non-renewable energy resources. It is free, abundant, and most importantly, consistent. Solar energy can be converted into electricity even with only mild winter sunlight.

Initially, the idea was struck down with its many shortcomings like lack of energy storage infrastructure, the limited hours of sunlight per day, and low energy conversion. But these issues have been worked on for decades. The solar cell efficiency has significantly improved alongside energy storage. This progress is also attracting new investments in solar energy projects.

There are several social benefits to investing in solar energy projects in emerging markets. Let’s analyze each in brief.

Energy Independence:

The regions and countries that fall under emerging markets are the ones most prone to power outages. Several of the inhabited regions are too isolated to be connected to the grid. Solar infrastructure can help such regions achieve energy independence and reduce power outages.

Reduced utility costs:

There is an initial cost involved in setting up the solar panels. But this cost is balanced by the significant reduction in utility bills right from the first month itself. It literally pays for it itself. The panels are viable for a period of 20 years at least. Thus, investing in solar tech can bring long-term savings for entire communities.

Property value appreciation:

Solar installations help reduce utility costs. If they are connected to the grid, you can even try giving power back to the grid. This adds to the value of the property. Thus, homes in emerging markets get a boost in appreciation rates. Solar installations will improve the asset value, be it in residential or commercial spaces.

Financial benefits:

The local authorities often offer subsidies and tax benefits for individuals who install solar panels at their residence. This encourages the adoption of solar installations on a large scale, especially in urban populations. People get the monetary benefits as well as enjoy the clean power that runs their homes. Energy investing in emerging markets brings money back into the community.

Reduced carbon footprint:

Carbon-based fuels are the number one cause of greenhouse gas emissions.  The use of solar would considerably brings down CO2 and CO emissions. It is one of the cleanest forms of renewable energy there is. The carcinogen and toxin load in the air, water, and soil are also reduced. This is a boon to emerging market countries as they are the most affected by pollution. The quality of air improves quality of life in these regions.

Replacing conventional vehicles with electric vehicles will almost completely eliminate air and noise pollution. Efforts are also being made to bring this into effect in public transport to move more people. It will also reduce the dependency on individual vehicles.

Increased job opportunities:

The venture into solar brings with it new jobs. The job market is pretty saturated in emerging economies. Millions graduate each year with the government and private firms struggling to employ them all. Investing in solar could provide a whole new industry that employs skilled and unskilled labor. It means employment for the population in both rural and urban areas. From research to installation, there are so many avenues to attract talent.

Community-level benefits:

Entire communities also stand to gain energy independence with solar installations. Especially those that live in emerging markets from the tropics like India and the Sub-Saharan African nations. Entire villages can go off the grid. There are several rural and tribal communities that do not have access to the grid. There is a strain on accessibility and resources in these regions. Even the simple act of having a light on at night can make a huge difference in their lives. The traditional lamps and kerosene lights and stoves are unsustainable, expensive to maintain, and unreliable. They give off toxic fumes and give out poor lighting. But actual bulbs and lights powered by solar energy are a welcome sight in these communities.

Investing in solar can actually make them truly energy independent. From home to schools, hospitals, and more, they can be used in different applications. Water can be pumped, filtered, and heated using solar-operated pumps and heaters. There is also so much potential in investing in solar energy research in niche end applications.

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