The total average power available at the earth's surface in the form of solar radiation exceeds the total human power consumption by roughly a factor of 1500 (UNDP, UNDESA, WEC 2001).
Africa, with its vast resources, and its abundant sunshine in particular, has the capacity to satisfy its basic needs without turning to foreign aid.
Africa should develop its abundant solar resources, in order to overcome its uneven distribution of oil resources. In Kenya, only 13 per cent of the population has access to electricity.
In order to encourage the use of solar water heaters in Israel, and in Jerusalem in particular, a regulation was created that required people include solar water heater systems in all new buildings. It states that
"No new building in which there is a system or installations for supplying hot water shall be built unless the system or the installation is a solar installation…".
As a result of this measure, out of 101.000 apartments surveyed in 1995, 57 % were using water heated by solar energy.
A similar move was recently taken by the mayor of Barcelona, where the municipality has decided that all those requesting building authorisations should include solar systems in their building design. African mayors should also follow this example to save energy and make our cities environmentally sound.
Solar water heaters used in Jerusalem (Photo From: Madanjeet Singh "L'énergie Solaire: Comment vivre en paix avec la nature", UNESCO, Paris, 1998.)
In order to promote the use of solar energy and to drastically reduce the consumption of firewood for cooking, the Malian Government has removed the duty on renewable energy technology devices.