Harnessing Solar Energy

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Senegal, like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, suffers from severe power shortages as well as erratic, unreliable supply from existing sources. Roughly 40 percent of the country’s national generation capacity is not fully functional, and has in the past necessitated costly, short-term solutions such as rental diesel units. Generated electricity is often times lost in transmission and distribution, in some countries this loss is estimated at more than 50 percent. Communities are forced to come up with expensive, short term remedies.

Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity.  Photovoltaics (PV) is a term which covers the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.

A typical photovoltaic system employs solar panels, each comprising a number of solar cells, which generate electrical power. PV installations may be ground-mounted, rooftop mounted or wall mounted. The mount may be fixed, or use a solar tracker to follow the sun across the sky.

Solar PV has specific advantages as an energy source: once installed, its operation generates no pollution and no greenhouse gas emissions, it shows simple scalability in respect of power needs and silicon has large availability in the Earth’s crust.