The World Bank has released a really practical web based tool Global Solar Atlas, back in January 2017. It uses a global map of solar exposure to calculate how much electricity you can expect a photovoltaic (PV) installation to produce every year in any location on the planet. The app will even share with you actual outputs from existing PV panels near, when it has the available data.
For example a quick test in Suva (Fiji) shows that a 1m² PV panel would generate 1466 kWh per year, enough electricity for the needs of one person in a household without air conditioning. And Suva is not that great… A little further north in Apia, Samoa, the same installation would generate almost 2000 kWh! That is almost double the amount of energy a panel in Berlin, Europe, gets.
The app also calculates the best angle to install a solar panel if you have a solar project in mind. But we would still recommend consulting a professional before completely trusting this app…
Tools to accelerate the shift to renewable
The World Bank publishes a few other apps on their website EnergyData.info. All are designed to monitor and help people take advantage of the worldwide shift towards clean energy. A good example is the map used “to estimate market opportunities for off-grid energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa”… Ideal for the African Green Entrepreneurs!
The World Bank anticipates that the rise of photovoltaics and the decline of its prices will impact profoundly the International energy market, especially developing countries who tend to jump directly to the latest technologies (think of how everyone has a cellphone, even in islands that never saw a landline). And as chances has it, these countries are usually quite near the Equator, an ideal localization is for the exploitation of this free and unlimited energy source.
The World Bank’s main official objective is the reduction of poverty. And with this app and the others from EnergyData, it’s doing it in a really clever way. Solar is by nature decentralized, unlike fossile energy reserves, which are very localized. African, South Asian, Pacific lands and all the tropical regions around the world are naturally gaining a big advantage (check the map) in this game changing context. It might actually accelerate economical and political changes.
Here, in the Pacific Ocean, things have already begun to speed up on solar exploitation and forthcoming implications are tremendously promising. Sun power is eventually going to deeply transform energy markets and we are going to be in the center of this new revolution.