“Because without renewables there is no future”
Antonio Guterres UN Secretary General
Energy is all around us. It provides us with electricity, fuel and heating, basically all the necessary activities of society. Throughout the years, communities have found ways to consume energy and give it new meaning. Energy sources such as wind, sun and water are infinite, at least for our foreseeable future. Fossil fuels on the other hand are becoming scarce and sources of economic and environmental problems.
Affluent countries have used fossil fuels so much so that they are now dependant on it to function while developing countries often struggle to access any sort of energy. It becomes impossible to produce, transport or consume energy without causing significant environmental impact with the current way we rely on fossil fuels. In fact, fossil fuels are responsible for 87% of greenhouse gas emissions and yet still present in most aspects of our lives. Our usage of non-renewable energy sources is causing planetary scale change and irreversible damage to our planets' land, water and atmosphere.
Unlike most sources, renewable energy has the potential to be available to all. Solar energy is part of these sought alternatives to fossil fuel. It converts energy from the sun into electricity or other forms of energy with the use of solar panels. This renewable power source is low maintenance and CO2 free, which is essential for the decarbonization of our society and, unlike its polluting counterparts, solar power is not running out anytime soon.
By moving towards a consumption of solar-powered everyday devices, one can save on electricity usage, curb consumption and reduce pollution since these devices tend to be more durable than the ones powered by other sources of energy, including electricity. Before making this move, it is important to know that the initial price of solar power can be costly simply because of the equipment needed for its use. However, in the long-term, this energy becomes the cheapest option for appliance use as it needs low to no maintenance, compared to non-renewable sources that would need constant investment.
Communities are now coming together to make accessible devices that are solar-powered to their population. For example, the Colombian city Bogota installed solar-powered community bikes in their streets last month offering their population a clean, durable and functional transportation method. Additionally, street lighting designs are now commonly changed for solar powered alternatives in many cities, decreasing the overall cost of their energy usage. This design idea is fortunately resonating internationally, so much so that tech companies like Philips have designed their own version of street lights. The city of Beaumont in the US, Jinja city in Uganda, Tillberg city in the Netherlands, Taiko in Japan and many more have incorporated this method of lighting their streets, further opening the communities' mindsets when it comes to their energy consumption and alternate sources.
Moreover, Brands are becoming more conscientious with designing their products, by replacing non-lasting energy options in objects of everyday use to solar-powered alternatives. Adidas and the Swedish brand Phoenix created solar-powered earphones; this innovative earphone production challenges traditional designs that have two times less durability. Tesla and Polestar offer some of their cars with solar energy panels as a source of power. This alternative to their automobiles running on electricity ultimately makes the customer save money.
Solios, a fellow Montreal brand uses solar energy to power their watches making their devices durable and sustainable. They intend to maximize long-term usage by creating an accessory that does not require maintenance or replacement of its battery. This alternative in traditional watch designs mixes durability, innovation and aesthetic as one, without compromise to create a sustainable product.
Did you know you can also charge your smartphone with the sun? Solar powered chargers are a great investment for anyone who spends significant time on their phones. It is portable, durable and cost-efficient; no need to replace your broken phone chargers anymore. Turning to renewable energy such as solar power enables endless possibilities of innovative designs such as beach umbrellas, self-heating bento boxes, lanterns, refrigerators, air-conditioning, etc. (source)
We encourage our community to learn more about solar power and its benefits in our path of sustainability. Solar power is clean, free and infinite, perfect for communities who value the circular economy. Solar energy then becomes a fundamental tool to solve our growing problems of cost-of-living and, more importantly, fight climate change and serve in a renewable source revolution.