In a recent announcement, RandB singer Akon revealed his plans to bring solar energy technology to the continent of Africa, effectively bringing power to half of the 1.3 billion population currently living without electricity.
The Missouri-born RandB star recently made a trip to Mali, where he met with top West African leaders to discuss sustainable energy initiatives. Though American by birth, Akon is Senegalese and feels that a stable Africa will be beneficial to not just the continent, but the world.
As standing, only 5% of Sub Saharan Africa is living with electricity, making it difficult for large-scale progress to be made in these areas. Africa as a nation has a breadth of knowledge, resources, and brilliant peoples capable of making real and effective change in our world, and Akon feels that solar energy technology will enable Africa to build a better and more sustainable tomorrow.
Along with providing solar energy to African cities, Akon is also establishing universities that will educate individuals on the solar installation process and technology, which will ultimately enable them to sustain the change after its initial installation.
In the past 15 years, the world has seen a rapid rise in the use of solar energy, of about 20%. In America, solar energy is becoming a mainstay, with 2,206 businesses a year reaping the benefits of solar panel efficiency. Many iconic U.S. companies are employing the use of solar energy on massive scales because of how it helps to lower operating costs and increase profit margins. In 2013, commercial industries saw a 40% increase of solar energy among an average of 30,000 companies.
And this rise in the use of solar energy comes as no surprise, considering the recent fiscal feasibility of these initiatives and the incontrovertible benefits of solar energy. Solar energy is both clean and promotes sustainability. While solar energy installation itself is the most difficult aspect of the project, once installed, solar panels require little maintenance and can quietly provide electricity from anywhere between 25 to 40 years. Solar energy is clean, as solar lights produce no waste products and uses naturally occurring energy to power itself. Ultimately, the facts on solar energy just don’t lie.
So far, Akon’s organization, Akon Lighting Africa (ALA) has provided power to 14 African countries and hopes to expand to 11 more by the end of 2015. By the end of 2020, Akon hopes that all of Africa will be powered on solar energy technology. That kind of solar news brightens days and futures for generations to come.