Solar energy has become more popular in the past few years. As the climate continues to change, there is a greater demand to switch to renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels contribute to pollution and greenhouse gases, one of the primary causes of climate change.
Many rural areas continue to rely on fossil fuels as their primary energy source, mainly because they cannot access renewables. Additionally, renewable energy can be more expensive upfront, leaving it out of reach for some. Even though the sun’s energy is free, solar power isn’t, which requires creative solutions to bring solar to rural areas.
Install Panels as Standard
One way to bring solar energy to rural areas is to install solar panels as they would be installed in more urban or populated areas. The only requirements for solar panels are either an open field, where an entire array can fit or a solid roof, as well as plenty of sunshine.
Farms provide an excellent opportunity for solar farms. Since many farms are in rural areas, a solar array could be placed there as a hub for surrounding farms and homes. The panels can work in conjunction with crops and livestock in a practice known as agrivoltaics, which could help the farm generate two to three times more money. Installing a larger solar farm will enable rural residents to access that renewable electricity.
Use Solar Energy Storage
In other areas of the world, the primary problem is that rural areas need a way to store energy. Solar panels alone don’t save energy for later. However, solar batteries do.
The use of batteries could significantly impact less-developed regions of the world that may not even have fossil-fuel-based energy sources or a power grid and proper infrastructure. A medium-scale solar farm with batteries would harvest energy during the day and provide electricity in the evening for under-developed countries and other rural areas.
Implement Solar Mini-Grids
Another way to bring solar energy to rural areas is by using solar mini-grids. Electricity is essential for nearly everyone, and those who live in rural areas may not have access to it. It keeps you connected, lights buildings, and powers businesses. Most of those rural communities rely on diesel generators.
However, solar mini-grids would work great in rural locations and connect nearly 800 million people to electricity. They are perfect for populations that are too remote for grid extensions but do not need a large grid for the community. They’re independent and can function without a national electricity grid.
Educate Rural Areas About Solar
Rural areas may not know enough about solar energy to want to add it as an electricity source to their hometown. Farms could greatly benefit from solar. By installing solar panels, they can offset the costs to run their farms. You can install solar panels nearly anywhere, and they help save money.
Education is vital in bringing any new idea to a rural community. Through education, rural areas and farmers can see the benefits of solar for their location. If no one knows about this renewable energy, then their chances to switch to solar are small.
The Benefits of Solar in Rural Areas
There are so many benefits of solar energy. Here are some of those for rural areas:
- Protect power interruptions: Some rural areas experience power interruptions and outages, especially with severe seasonal weather. With renewable sources, they experience fewer power losses.
- Bring economic opportunities: Cleaner air is becoming more popular and needed throughout the world. As the push toward renewable energy increases, the demand for nonrenewable sources decreases. Solar installations would provide jobs and economic security for towns that used to rely on coal and oil.
- Offer tax incentives: Rural areas may be hesitant to install solar because of the cost. However, solar offers tax incentives, which cut the costs associated with renewable energy.
- Help the environment: Finally, solar in rural areas will help contribute to bettering the environment. Solar conserves water, which is excellent for farming areas. Additionally, it reduces carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
Rural areas can significantly benefit from adding solar power to their communities.
Less populated regions are still reliant on natural resources. However, as renewable energy replaces fossil fuels in urban areas, the push for renewables in rural areas increases. With education, incentives, and innovations, solar companies can slowly bring solar to rural areas, which will help the environment and the economy.
Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.