The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Solar: A Solution to Worldwide Electricity Needs

Did you know that the United Nations declared 2012 "International Year of Sustainable Energy for All" (SE4ALL)? During a Wednesday morning session of SPI, speakers from the United Nations Foundation, World Bank, Solgenix and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) discussed how solar can be used to help people worldwide who are without electricity.

Currently, 1.3 billion people worldwide are without access to electricity and 1 billion more have only intermittent access, said Richenda Van Leeuwen, executive director, energy and climate for the United Nations Foundation. In addition, 2.8 billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions, she said.

In response, the UN launched the SE4ALL campaign, with an objective to reach three goals by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

The UN has identified 40 countries as areas of energy need. In many of these countries, solar can be a big part of the solution, Van Leeuwen said. “Solar energy has 25 to 80 times its current potential.”

As average PV module prices have fallen by nearly 75 percent in recent years, more developing nations are able to turn to solar, she said.

Xiaoping Wang, senior energy specialist with the World Bank, spoke about the World Bank’s efforts to bring funding for electricity to Latin America.

“You have countries in Latin America that have universal access, then you have countries like Haiti that have less than 30 percent access.”

Altogether, 34 million people in Latin America are without electricity, Wang said, and 89 million are still using inefficient biomass systems to cook their food. However, Latin American electricity access has expanded tremendously since 1970, when only 51 percent of the continent had access to electricity. In 2010, 94 percent of Latin America had access to electricity.

The challenges to bringing electricity to Latin America include the region’s difficult topography, high connection costs with low consumption, and consumers’ limited access to finance, Wang said. “We estimate to overcome these challenge and reach universal access for Latin America, there would need to be an $8 billion investment.”

“The potential in these countries is obviously enormous,” said Titus Breeninkmeijer, president, Solgenix, LLC.

In conjunction with the SE4ALL initiative, SEIA has launched The Solar Industry Commitment to Environmental and Social Responsibility, which John Smirnow, vice president, trade & competitiveness, shared during the session.

One of SEIA’s top priorities is to help ensure a sustainable solar supply chain globally. In support of this mission, SEIA is taking proactive steps to promote environmental and social responsibility within the industry, Smirnow said. To learn more about SEIA’s mission, visit

Lead Image Credit: Caro's lines via Flickr

Watch the video below to see more on the conversation about the United Nations's SE4All Initiative.


Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Evaluating the Case for Module-Level Shutdown

Hannes Knopf With 2014 NEC adoption in full swing, many are anticipating what the next version of the code will hold for the PV in...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...


The Burden – Solar For National Security

The Burden, a ground-breaking documentary about our military’s deadly dependence on oil...

US Solar to Present at South Florida Association of Environmental Professionals June Luncheon

Local, Florida-based solar company US Solar, will be presenting at the South Florida As...

US Solar - Green Planet Festival Highlights Solar Energy and Solar Training This Weekend

US Solar Institute (USSI) is excited to announce that they are the educational sponsor ...

US Solar Hosts Sierra Club Solar Meeting

This past Monday, US Solar welcomed a new group to its solar training classroom – The S...


Industry Focus: Cleantech: 1366 Technologies joins Solarcity in New York

1366 is set to build a factory just up the road (OK, it is a long road – NYS Thruway) from Solarcity.  The...

Solar Decathlon 2015 Opens to the Public in California

Today, Oct. 8, the biennial Solar Decathlon opened up to the public at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, ...

ENER-G CHP technology selected for major London housing scheme

ENER-G has been selected to supply combined heat and power (CHP) technology for phase two of the Leopold Estate housi...

Georgia Legislature Approves PPA’s, Florida Hoping to Follow

Ah, the sunny south, the land of peaches, oranges and solar potential. I’m talking about Georgia and Florida he...


Former associate editor for Power Engineering magazine where I used to EPA's regulations for the power industry in detail. For renewables, I write about solar and wind-related policies and technologies. I'm a native of Tulsa, Okla. with a bac...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar fina...

Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar financing...

10 Questions You Should Be Asking

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that the quality of your life is directly...

Saving Vs. Gaining

Whenever I do a national keynote speech or customized coaching session f...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now