Solar cities is a term describing carbon neutral or sustainable cities such as Masdar, Abu Dhabi, a city of 7 sq.km. which has been designed to house 50,000 people.
Using the sun’s energy to source power for solar cities is an idea growing in popularity on a daily basis. In order to harness the energy of the sun, photovoltaic (‘PV’) technology is used. There is a plethora of benefits from using PV, starting with costs and finishing with health benefits.
Powering Solar Cities
The main benefits of solar energy are environmental and cost savings. Using rooftop solar pv panels to supply homes, offices, factories and entire regions with power, at a fraction of the cost of fossil-fuel based electricity is the way to produce solar cities. When sufficiently large arrays of solar panels are installed for a city, the demand for grid-based power is vastly reduced or almost eliminated.
At householder levels, solar panels commonly used for a solar water heater have a lifespan of up to 25 years and at a rate of US$4.30 or even less for 1 Watt of output, for a 50 watts panel costs are as low as $220. Of course as technologies improve, prices will reduce rapidly.
Moving Away From Reliance on the Grid
The main source of electricity in the world today is fossil fuel based, which means that countries need to spend a lot of money on buying non-renewable resources. Running huge electric grids and power plants is costly, and these costs are passed on to the consumer.
As solar cities use renewable solar power as their main source of electricity there is no need for huge power plants, no need for fossil fuel and definitely no need for transporting oil, coal and gas. The savings to the consumer and governments can be appropriated for other important projects, such as healthcare, technology and education.
Solar cities are currently in development and when time has shown how effective they are, more nations will be inclined to follow their path.
Third World Benefits
In third world countries many accidents happen due to the spilling of kerosene lamps. Using open fires for cooking also creates serious respiratory and burn problems.
Solar cities which rely on solar energy rather than fossil fuels will have cleaner air. Burning fossil fuels produces toxic fumes and allergens which accounts for many people’s respiratory problems.
In comparison to kerosene, which produces fumes equivalent to inhaling the equivalent of 2 packs of cigarettes per day, solar energy has practically zero emissions and it doesn’t also have any impact on the greenhouse effect.
Solar Cities for the Future
Cities in USA and around the world are introducing solar panels to generate energy to their built environment. This has a positive effect on our world by slowing the greenhouse gas effect. Solar cities reduce the pollution created by the use of fossil fuel and they present a cost-effective and health-effective way of providing power to the population. I have previously written on the idea of a solar empire which envisages a growing number of nations creating solar cities.
Guest author: Living Quarters, India
Image Trevor Patt