27 May, 2015

Why Haven't Yemenis Been Using Solar Power?

With abundant sunshine, all year round, 365 days a year; and with electricity very scarce or unavailable in most parts of the country; with most parts of the country having very extreme temperatures (mainly hot); with the world right now, in wonder, following the very remarkable, amazing journey around the world of 'Solar Impulse' (the solar powered plane) ------- it's incomprehensible that most Yemenis have not been using and do not use solar energy. With war raging in most parts of Yemen now; with its air space restricted and sea ports blockaded; with the present serious, crippling fuel shortage; Yemenis would have been much better off using solar power.

For years now, most Yemeni cities, including its capital - Sana'a - have had electricity rationed almost daily; and most people living in the rural areas are not connected to public, electricity grids; they rely mainly on electricity generators which are expensive to maintain and run. Chronic electricity shortage has been one of the main factors deterring development in the country. And yet, even with the continuous rationing and shortages of electricity -- Yemenis have not been using and do not use solar power. 

Several factors have contributed to this: most Yemenis do not even know that electric power can be generated using the power of the sun; like with most other problems confronting Yemen --- there has never been proper government planning and vision; the government hasn't bothered much in promoting the use of renewable energy, which means people are not educated or enlightened on the very good benefits and advantages of using renewable power; and no incentives or tax breaks/exemptions have been offered or given to businessmen wanting to open up businesses in renewable energy. 

Today, in all major Yemeni urban areas, the human and economic cost of the ongoing war, and of not having electricity -- is enormous and tragic. With the ongoing serious fuel shortage or fuel not existing at all, moving from one point to another, is difficult and expensive; many hospitals have closed; due to the extreme heat and dehydration, many, the very young and the old in particular, are becoming sick and many are dying; with most air-conditioners, freezers, chillers not working properly, a large quantity of food is getting spoilt; with many mortuary freezers not working properly, many dead bodies are decomposing. 

When Yemen settles down, has peace, order and a proper, working government --- very hopefully, Yemeni leaders will do the necessary and their best in promoting and supporting the use of renewable energy, especially solar power; doing that will also create many jobs, especially for the youth. Solar power is not only clean and sustainable but also much cheaper and much more productive to the government and Yemenis in the long run.