Solar has the Potential to Save Us All – If We Let it.
Solar energy is cheaper, abundant, and more accessible than the fossil fuels we, as a nation, still rely on today. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the above sentence – however true it may be – sounds too good, too unconvoluted, to be true. As a people, we have come accustomed to everything having a catch, a hidden price tag – we have learned to grow 2 eyes on the back of our heads and 3 more on our backs. Everything you have ever wanted, you had to push; over-exert yourself almost to achieve a sliver of the ‘American Dream’. This may explain the shared apprehension we seem to have towards this ‘solar phenomenon’ as Nigerians.
Firstly, it is not a phenomenon – at least it shouldn’t be. The harnessing of the sun for electrical power dates back to 1954 with the birth of Photovoltaic technology in the United States. Now, I could dive into the galvanized chains neo-colonialism has left on our ankles, or more importantly in our paradigms, or I could simply state – it is what it is. We find ourselves 70 odd years later still reluctant to embrace the very commodity that has been hanging over our heads whilst we put them in the ground searching for decrepit petroleum.
Solar energy is important because the sun is here. Above, and before all, the sun is here. It is ours. To think the grass is greener is the human condition but perhaps sometimes the thing you find thrust into the palm of your hand is integral to solving the problems that plague your everyday life. The worrying about how the children will do their homework in the dark? The jeers and hisses that involuntarily flood your ears as light is taken from your office place? The money lost due to the unrefrigerated perishables perishing? Solar energy has the power and proximity to fix these troubles setting up camp in the bags of our dejected eyes. We just have to let it.
Revisiting the concept of the ‘American Dream’, the term, coined in 1931, applies to anyone anywhere and it is the belief that you can achieve the quality of life you desire through hard work and sacrifice. Needless to say, this concept fell flat on its face being introduced during an economic depression in a stratified society. However, my one takeaway from the idea is the utilization of resources before you to unmoor the quality of your life by eliminating the problems that constitute the anchor holding you to a singular place. Fuel scarcity. Raised diesel prices. Noise pollution. uncomfortable heat. Outrageous NEPA bills. Only to name a few items that need to be done away with to boost the quality of life of the average Nigerian. Solar energy’s ability to add by subtracting these items (and more), is extremely becoming as it can effect positive change in numerous aspects of one’s life, whether that be work or home.
Finally, the environmental implications. Hear me out! I am aware of the country’s apathy towards the global crisis, or climate warming, or whatever they are calling it these days. However, I also know what you do care about: your family. Your work. How your work helps and affects your family – in some cases the vice versa. This blog has been rather quixotic so let me lay down the facts: the earth is dying, okay I’m joking! Climate scientists project 11 years left to prevent irreversible damage from climate change. The UN implores nations to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. The Climate crisis has led to icecaps melting which trapped pathogens we may not be able to treat if they escape. Solar power prices have fallen by 99% since 1977. Using solar power cuts your carbon footprint an- “What does this mean for me? My family?”, you shout. Well, for you…not much, you are getting old anyway. However, your child with their whole life in front of them is in more danger than ever before. At the mercy of wildfires, more pandemics, and an earth that may not be dying, but is surely losing its ability to sustain humans – the future you are working so hard to secure for them may not even exist. Unless you act now.
This is not to evoke fear but to open your eyes and tilt your head up. Look up. View it with indulgence because there you will find the answer to improving your quality of home life, work-life, and perhaps future life.