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Potential of solar energy in developing countries for reducing energy-related emissions

Amir Shahsavari and Morteza Akbari

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2018, vol. 90, issue C, 275-291

Abstract: The growing global demand for energy from fossil fuels plays a key role in the upward trend in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollutants. Rapid population growth and increasing energy demand in the developing countries have brought many concerns such as poverty, pollution, health and environmental problems. While for these countries, particularly the poorest ones, modern energy is necessary to stimulate production, income generation and social development plus reduce the serious health issues that are caused by the use of fuelwood, charcoal, animal dung and agricultural waste. Solar energy is the best answer to energy poverty and it can provide excellent opportunities for reduction of GHG emissions and indoor air pollution through substituting kerosene for lighting and firewood for cooking. Solar photovoltaic (PV) can be an appropriate technology for a source of renewable electricity in developing nations especially in remote rural areas where grid extensions are financially or technically not viable. PV can also be used to reduce demand for fossil fuels and associated emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The use of PV systems can reduce 69–100 million tons of CO2, 126,000–184,000 t of SO2 and 68,000–99,000 t of NOx by 2030. In case countries use concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, each square meter of concentrator surface is enough to save about 200–300 kg (kg) of CO2 emissions annually. Although there are excellent renewable opportunities in many developing countries, several key barriers have prevented large-scale deployment of solar energy technologies in these countries. This study reviews the sources of energy-related emissions, risks of climate change, global solar energy potential, sustainability indicators of renewable energies, environmental impacts of fossil fuels and renewable energies, benefits of solar energy utilization. It also discusses barriers to widespread use of solar energy.

Keywords: Fossil fuels; Environmental issues; Solar energy; Developing countries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2018.03.065

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