Uses of Solar Energy

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Various possibilities of using solar energy exist. Here you find a few applications and experiences with them in projects.

Uses of Solar Energy

Battery Charging Stations

Battery charging stations are usually not the first choice for Rural electrification, but they can be viable in remote areas were no other alternatives exist and the income of the population is too low to invest in other solutions as for example solar home systems. Costs, models, leassons learned and exapmles with solar battery charging stations can be read up in this section.


Solar cookers have repeatedly been seen as a solution to the firewood problem. “Cooking with the sun” also allows the use of a free, effectively inexhaustible source of energy, relieves the workload on women, and reduces the harmful effects on health arising from cooking. Moreover, fewer trees are chopped down, thus stopping deforestation and the advance of desertification, while at the same time guarding against global warming. Roughly half of the million or so solar cookers in the world are used in China. This article gives an overview of types of solar cookers, disseminantion strategies and basic rules of use and diffusion.


With the increasing demand for electricity for cooling purposes (for example in air conditioners, refrigerators), the pressure on the grid is also increasing. In this critical situation, solar energy could be harnessed for heating, drying and cooling purposes.


Preservation of agricultural produce is an important challenge in developing countries in order to protect food from getting spoiled. But traditional sun drying methods often yield poor quality. Solar drying facilities combine traditional and industrial methods, meaning low investment costs and high product quality. Experience with Solar drying in Peru and Bolivia is described in this article.

The project Modern Solar Drying in Afghanistan aimed at the testing of small solar dryers to improve the quality of solar dried fruits in Afghanistan, the promotion of the technology amongst the population, the development of capacity building and the launch of a small solar food business.

Photovoltaic (PV) for Health Centers

An unreliable energy source adds to the daily challenges health facilities in rural areas face on a daily basis: If the cold chain is inoperable when supplies arrive, vaccines, blood, and other medicines may go to waste. If a clinic is without lights, patients arriving at night must wait until morning to receive care. Selecting an appropriate source of reliable and sustainable energy as well as introducing measures for efficient energy consumption can help mitigate some of the challenges inherent in operating a health facility in the developing world. This article will provide an overview on options for the improvement of the energy situation in rural health facilities and experience of projects in Ethiopia and Uganda.


There are two distinct fields of application for PV pumping systems: drinking water supply and irrigation. Experience from past projects has proven PV pumping systems to be technically mature and suitable for utilization in rural areas of developing countries. The systems in use have very low failure rates and are therefore highly reliable. Economics of PV pumping systems for irrigation is dependent on numerous factors, which are described in the article.

Solar Lighting

See all articles tagged with the category solar lighting.

Street Lights

Electric street lights consume high amounts of energy, which makes solar street lights attractive. They can be used at streets, highways, parks and villages. An important impact is increased security. In this section, tips, tricks as well as common sources of failures are described.

Thermal Applications

Solar thermal technologies involve harnessing Solar Energy for thermal energy (heat).

Solar thermal technologies comprise flat or parabollic collectors (low and medium temperatures and high temperature collectors) concentrating sunlight mainly using mirrors and lenses. Solar heating is the utilisation of solar energy to provide process heat, especially in crop drying, water heating, cooking or space heating and Solar Cooling. Advanced designs are also used to generate electricity.

Further Information