Environmentally friendly due to less pollution, reduced energy bills by "creating" your own electricity and fewer power outages are some of the numerous benefits of using solar panels. The only problem? Solar panels are a hefty investment that can cost more than $100,000 for installation. However, The New York Times
recently reported that solar panel prices have fallen about 40 percent since the middle of last year due to greater supply and less demand for materials like polysilicon. There are also many financial initiatives from the government and state that will help reduce these costs even further.
Some notable people who are contributing to the solar initiative include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and action movie star Jet Li. Blair and Li recently attended a conference on environmental protection in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, and announced the "Solar-powered LED Lighting the Thousand Villages Project"
. Over five years, the initiative aims to make more than 1,000 villages in China, India and Africa utilize solar energy instead of electricity. This is a collaborative effort between the Climate Group (co-founder Tony Blair) and One Foundation (Jet Li).
Even President Obama's Kenyan step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, gets a new set of solar panels. Previously, she had a set of solar panels that were stolen because in a village without electricity, solar panels are highly sought after. Greenpeace's Solar Generation initiative installed the panels in which Ms. Obama called "clean, reliable and affordable, unlike paraffin that is widely used in the area." Greenpeace also worked with youths in the village of Kogelo to add solar panels to the Barack Obama School there.
Besides solar panels, there are also other ways of harnessing solar energy at home. A solar powered car ventilator, solar flashlights, solar video cameras, solar pool purifiers, solar heaters, solar mosquito inhibitors, solar radios, solar powered fountain pumps and solar lighting can also help save energy bills and protect the environment.
Photo: Official Jet Li Website