India
Kenya
UK

Sustainable power a key pillar in spurring economic growth

After more than 50 years of self-governance, the expectation that the whole republic would be well-lit is an understatement. Developed countries are moving away from hydro and fossil-fuel driven power generation to greener sources of power. From industrial to domestic and even transportation, they are focusing more on natural sources to drive their economies.

The UK has for example set a challenging target stating that by 2020, 15 per cent of its energy consumption will come from renewable energy sources. In order to accomplish this ambitious goal, the UK needs to multiply the number of high-scale solar panel projects. However, considering the high initial investment needed to install solar panels, the government has to put a lot of efforts into motivating people to invest by offering them benefits and economic incentives. Endowed with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, India is making strides towards becoming a global solar superpower. To meet these energy needs, India has set itself the ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, forty percent of which is to come from rooftop solar. This too can be done in Kenya.

The government’s four key pillars of economic growth are all power-driven. County chiefs should be focusing more on renewable sources of energy and more so, a solar strategy. We are dissected by the equator and the intensity of the sun available to us is only enviable by other countries. Both rain water and solar go down the drain untapped and uncollected. A power black-out is a shameful occurrence in any discerning economy that has strategic development plans that heavily rely on power.

What with a single service provider and distributor that leisurely issues notices about disruption in the flow of electricity with unfathomable reasons. County chiefs could for starters invest in solar parks and start powering their journeys towards economic independence. Sustainable power is the cornerstone for this. But all is not in vain. Affordable housing is one of the strategic Big Four. What entails affordable housing? It is not the ability to pay rent only. A modern and affordable housing unit must be able to facilitate the function of livability and be a habitable structure that supports the processes of living a healthy life.

The proposed government scheme that will see approximately 500,000 council houses constructed across the country must have sustainable construction that will see tenants benefitting from solar panel installations. This can be expected to create up to 10,000 jobs for installation and maintenance country-wide.

By cutting electricity bills such an initiative would help tenants across the country as well as provide a financial lifeline for counties and housing associations, who would earn substantial rental incomes for the next 25 years. Spiralling electricity costs are hardly ever out of the news yet fuel poverty is an important issue facing the larger populace that lives at the base of the social pyramid.

Most county authorities have not invested in the much-needed renewable technologies. Installing solar photovoltaic panels as part of a wider energy efficiency programme can help alleviate the problems of high energy costs for residents.

The average tenant who has solar panels installed can save as much as 50 per cent off their annual electricity bill and that saving can make a massive difference to the lives of many householders across the country.

County governments should rethink their approval procedures for construction, in conjunction with the relevant national authority. If it is not embracing green and sustainable attributes and particularly rooftop solar, then they must never break ground.

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