Sustainable Energy Technology for Developing Countries
We know the problem, that more than 1 billion people live off the grid paying high rates for sometimes dangerous energy sources and power solutions. Some charge their mobile phones with used car batteries, light their homes with kerosene lanterns and cook indoors over open fires. Accidents and fumes cut lives short. And the costs per kilowatt hour are higher than a home outlet.
We also know the opportunity, that the world’s poorest half spends $500 billion annually on energy, as our trend analysis below points out. For those reasons, the UN enshrined Sustainable Energy for All as one of its development goals. On this page you’ll find a collection of ideas in practice, from waste-powered biodigesters to metered home systems that dish out pay-as-you-go power. These are the steps development engineers are taking toward sustainable energy solutions for everyone.
Understanding the challenge
Studies and expert opinion merge into a snapshot of rural energy access as it is right now. These recorded presentations and analysis amount to an overview of the challenge and how we're meeting it with off grid power solutions.
Permutations of a problem
The lack of energy touches nearly every facet of life. From hurricanes in New York City to power cuts that stop sewing machines in India, it’s a problem that manifests in unexpected ways.
When the sun goes down, the day ends. No work after dark, no studying. That’s the reality for one quarter of the world’s population that lives without electricity. Inventive design and the falling cost of solar power is lighting up homes that the traditional energy grid has left dark. Power solutions that can scale are filling in the grid gaps with solar, hydro, wind and biogas. With alternative off-grid energy solutions, the world is lighting up.
Power cuts were frequent in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, and when it went out, sewing machines at a textile cooperative shut down. The women were losing money, so they...
Diversity in clean cookstove design has climbed sharply as startups, mom and pops, multinationals and even students try to solve a humanitarian conundrum. They are also taking a shot...
Fortunately, we have solutions
Solar, micro-hydro, wind, biogas and efficient cookstoves are mature technologies with proven track records. Our Solutions Library shows side-by-side comparisons of energy-generating products and off the grid power solutions that are making a difference where they're needed most.
Expert insight can help with the decisions
Learn from the people who are successfully delivering energy solutions to off-the-grid homes and communities in developing countries now. We interview dozens of engineers, start-up founders, CEOs and CTOs, leaders in government and non-governmental organizations and academia to gain their expert perspectives on how to improve energy access. This is what a few of them have to share.