The world is grappling with the novel coronavirus christened Covid-19. There is enough that each one of us is reading about Covid-19. This article will focus only on the Role of Solar Energy keeping in mind the changes which are likely to be permanent due to this pandemic.
Why do we say that the world will see a reboot due to Covid-19 ?
There have been several virus problems in the past but none brought about the kind of rapid transmission and changes as this one. Lets count some of the evident changes:
- The world appears far more united at this time than it ever was. Relations across nations are going through a transformation. True friends are recognized at such critical moments.
- Leadership across the world is being tested and watched very closely.
- Medical science is going through a revolution with decisions being taken which have never happened earlier.
- Lockdown around the world has taken the focus away from environmental pollution which has been the biggest news item otherwise, for a very long time.
- Work from home is going to be a new normal.
- Social distancing is here to stay and will redefine behavioural traits across the world.
- Businesses will see survivors and new leaders.
Solar Energy in Relation to Covid-19
Putting the above context in perspective, the importance of solar energy will be better understood:
- Solar Energy is cost effective
Economic tremors are being felt already. When normalcy returns in whichever form the real impact will be felt. Energy is one of the big components in the cost of any household or business. Even more important to look at reducing these costs and solar engery is the best alternative available.
Western Australia has already announced a relief package to Western Australians struggling to pay their energy bills.
It has already been debated enough that any kind of subsidy can at best be a temporary measure. The cost has to be borne one way or another. It is similar to putting money in one pocket calling it a relief measure while eventually taking it out from another pocket.
A long term and more permanent measure is to find a cheaper energy source. Solar Energy fits the requirement perfectly.
- Solar Energy was already growing rapidly pre Covid-19
The technology, vendors, installers, system and the interest of consumers towards solar energy installations was already well established before Covid-19 struck. Rather than looking for something different, solar installations as a solution is readily available and easy to implement.
The Government should be looking at further incentivizing solar installations which are a permanent and clean energy solution for the future.
- Solar installations are low contact
Social distancing is the most effective weapon against the spread of a virus infection. Solar installations are already designed to practice social distancing as it is low contact. The installation team does not need to enter the office or household and can be done directly on the roof or any other identified location on the premises. Further, any communication can easily be done from a distance. A video can be used to show the work happening and if any input or guidance is needed it can be given online.
- Solar installations create jobs for the local economy
Safe work environment maintaining the norms of social distancing is required. Solar installations again are a perfect example where livelihood can be provided.
- Building upon the positive effect on pollution
In all the mayhem and disruption, there has been a silver lining. Pollution levels across the world have dropped significantly. A problem which was much larger has temporarily taken a back seat. As lockdowns open up and all the economic activities start, the problem will resurface. This is the best time to tackle the pollution problem when it has come in control of some kind. This is the best time to strategically shift towards solar energy which is a clean pollution free source.
- Creating required independence
On grid and off grid solutions are possible with solar installations. Strategically, installations can be isolated easily when required. What the future has in store for the world is unknown? Covid-19 has tested the world on its preparedness to face the unknown. Being able to isolate an energy source is a critical aspect towards this preparedness for the future. Solar energy can play both the roles, support the grid from collapse in any emergency as well as isolate a unit effectively whenever required.
Solar Industry Needs Attention and Support
The solar industry is already lobbying with the Government to recognize the importance of the industry and to include it in the Covid-19 stimulus packages and essentials.
(Data Source: ecogeneration.com.au)
It is the customers though, whose interest will not only get more attention from the Government but also help sustain the industry.
Each of us is planning for the future. Resource constraints will be even more evident. Using the resources to make correct choices and decisions is even more important now. The opportunity exists triggered forcefully by Covid-19 and its fallout.
The solar industry in itself is comparatively new and there is a possibility that it may collapse if it does not get sustainable business support. It would be very unfortunate if something like this should happen. Not only will a lot of jobs be lost, but a golden opportunity to bring about a positive change in the society and the world would have been missed.
We have already understood the context of Covid-19 and the various benefits that the solar energy installations provide. The time to take the positive step is now.
Live Examples of Success
The 50 MW jermalong solar farm, one of the largest solar projects is situated near Forbes in New South Wales. It is worth noting that the project is largely unaffected by the Covid-19 outbreak and has moved into the construction phase.
Other impact stories can be referred at https://reneweconomy.com.au/covid-19-live-blog-clean-energy-industry-impact-stories-useful-links-27799/