#Solar power actually solves most of the sustainable goals set by the United Nations. What are these goals and what do they have to do with solar? Take a look!
In 2015, on September 25th, the United Nations set forth a set of goals that aimed to ensure prosperity to all people, end the long-lasting poverty and protect planet Earth. There are 17 main goals in total, and each goal has a specific target that must be achieved over the next 15 years. The goals are diverse and the targets are even more diverse. Of course, there are endless possibilities and endless solutions to the problems presented by the #UN. However, only one solution seems to be capable of meeting all the requirements; and it seems to be capable of helping the UN reach most – if not all – of its goals over the next 15 years. And this solution is solar energy. Let’s see how solar power has the potential to help the UN achieve its goals.
Goal 7 is “Affordable and clean energy.” Solar energy is both clean and affordable. Recent advancements in solar technology have made it possible for companies to install cheap solar panels and produce electricity cheaper than before. And keep in mind that advancements are being made every year. The cost of solar cells and batteries is decreasing every year.
The solar industry is on the rise. This means that goal 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure) is also on its way to being achieved. More and more solar projects are being planned and implemented all over the world. For example, Jordan is powering its two largest refugee camps using electricity from solar sources.
Also, goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) is supported by the solar industry. Solar panels and canopies can be placed anywhere: on skyscrapers, on houses, on parking lots, and on empty fields. There are self-sustaining homes that are producing all the energy they need by using the sun and some photovoltaic cells.
It is obvious that solar energy is helping the UN achieve its Climate Action goal (13). Harvesting energy from renewable sources is the best way to protect the climate. Producing electricity from the Sun is not damaging to the climate or to Earth in any way. There are no CO2 emissions and there is no waste (like in the case of nuclear power generation). In fact, a world powered entirely by solar energy can reverse the effects of global warming according to various sources. We can return to normal or at least closer to it if we are able to stop polluting our planet by burning fossil fuels for energy.
Goals 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land) can be achieved by making extensive use of solar energy. Because producing electricity using photovoltaic panels does not result in any dangerous or harmful byproducts, neither life on land nor life under water is affected. The atmosphere is not polluted. The oceans of the world will no longer be the dumping grounds of oil companies.
When it comes to “Responsible consumption and production” (goal 12), solar energy is the best solution. People can produce their own energy using their own solar panels. They slowly start to understand that producing energy is not a simple task. People will understand that energy should not be taken for granted. This will (hopefully) consequently lead to people being more conscious and more responsible. They will learn that leaving the lights on or consuming energy without reason is not to their advantage. With responsible production comes responsible consumption.
And because solar energy is green and renewable – and does not cause any harm to the planet – it means that peoples’ “Good health and well-being” (goal 3) will be improved. However, for this to happen, solar energy must be harvested as much as possible. If traditional ways of producing energy (burning coal and gas, for instance) could be replaced by solar panels all over the world, planet Earth would be healthier. As a direct consequence, people will eat healthier, breathe healthier, and be healthier as a result.
UN’s “Clean water and sanitation” (6) goal is more difficult to achieve. However, solar energy is also the answer, even if indirectly. Why is our water polluted today? Why are we having trouble with sanitation? It is because we have managed over the years to pollute the planet and its oceans. If we can reverse this process, or at least stop polluting more, we can have clean water and adequate sanitation. Because producing electricity from solar sources is a green, sustainable process, we can produce all the energy we need without polluting our planet further. Furthermore, electricity from solar sources can be used to cheaply produce clean drinking water. As long as one has cheap, clean energy, one can use it to clean pollution.
When it comes to “Decent work and economic growth” (goal 8), it looks like the solar industry is providing both. The number of jobs in solar is growing each year. And, best of all, jobs are being created all over the world every year. In other words, the solar industry is providing decent work and, of course, economic growth to countries that implement it. Nobody says that producing green energy can’t bring a profit. There are hundreds of solar companies (from manufacturing to installation) that are thriving, and they are always in need of qualified people.
Goal 17, “Partnership for the goals” is more difficult to achieve. However, we have already seen how governments, business entities and individuals have come together for a common goal. Developing solar projects and implementing them requires strong partnerships between all of the parts involved, from governments to local communities. Producing, storing and distributing solar energy takes much more than a single company to achieve.
Although the solar industry cannot achieve goal 2 (Zero hunger) and goal 1 (No poverty) all on its own, it is of great help. By creating jobs in the solar industry and by providing cheap energy to all countries, we can help more and more people increase their living standards. Huge investments can be diverted from the fossil fuel industry and from environmental cleaning projects to areas that really need them. We can feed millions of people with the extra funds if we no longer pollute our planet. We can help third world countries develop rapidly by giving them access to cheap solar energy. Poverty and hunger can be rapidly solved with the effective use of solar energy. And with higher living standards, we can focus more on “Quality education” (goal 4) and “Gender equality” (goal 5).
At first glance, solar energy can’t provide “peace, justice and strong institutions” (goal 16) or “reduced inequalities” (goal 10). However, the use of cheap solar energy can help all countries advance quickly. Solar jobs are on the rise and will continue to be on the rise for many years to come. Governments that can get the money they need to help their people and their institutions will become stronger. Having access to cheap energy really can make a difference everywhere in the world. Indirectly, solar energy is helping the UN achieve its 10 and 16 goals. Inequalities will be reduced, we will have peace (there will be less or no wars for resources), and we will have justice and strong institutions.
Solar energy is helping achieve most of the UN’s sustainable development goals in a direct way. And indirectly, it is the solution to all of the remaining goals of the United Nations. There is no doubt about it; solar energy is promising a bright future, one in which every person on Earth will benefit from clean, cheap, and sustainable energy. Follow solar news to learn the latest developments in this industry!