The Importance Of Solar Energy In Africa

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The sun is one of the gifts of nature. Its ability to solve most of Africa’s challenges, some of which have been stated above, is unquestionable. The sun is the ultimate source of energy and its availability allows for various ways to be developed so its free energy can be utilised. A major way in which the energy from the sun (often called solar energy) has been utilised is in the aspect of solar cooking technology (Ahmad, 2001), which is available in different types from the relatively cheap ones with low technology to the big expensive ones that can be used in the industrial heating system or cooking for hundreds of people (Otte, 2013). A solar cooking system makes use of the energy from the sunshine to heat or cook food and even to boil…show more content…
There are many forms in which CSP can be used as a heat source as shown in Figure 1-3 under the concentrators; however, the parabolic types of concentrators have been proven over the years to be the most efficient in terms of heat generation (Reddy & Ranjan, 2003). They are also considered the fastest in terms of the time it takes to make food when used as a solar cooker (Panwar, et al., 2012). Solar cookers, especially the parabolic types, have been identified as a potential solution to some of the challenges facing developing communities such as overdependence on the insufficient electricity supply which causes load shedding, food insecurity, unemployment, rural urban migration and other social issues (Bryceson et al., 1996; von Braun, 2010; Toonen, 2009). Despite these potentials, the parabolic cookers still face many challenges, some of which are low utilisation efficiencies, complexity in design and low social acceptance. There is, therefore, a need to increase the efficiencies of these types of cookers and eliminate the major challenges facing its ability to compete with other types of convectional cookers. General Objectives The study in this report was carried out with the aims and objectives: To provide a stand-alone / independent solar cooking system that can be used within rural communities in order to…show more content…
Its limitation is due to the fact that the sun is never available 24 hours a day. As a result, solar cookers are often either not functional or not fully effective in a cloudy day or when there is no sunshine. The development of solar cookers with thermal energy storage has been identified as a breakthrough to the challenges and limitations faced by solar cookers. Yettou et al. (2014) identified current problems facing the social acceptability of solar cookers. These include complexity in design, longer cooking time, unregulated temperatures, sun tracking, solar cooker sizing, low efficiencies and exposure to sun by the users, which leads to sun burn. All these problems hinder the easiness of solar cookers to compete favourably with other means of cooking. However, the issues are being attended to by on-going research around the world. The need to develop a solar cooker with suitable simple thermal storage, reduced heat loss, solar tracking, accurate sizing and cooking chats, and eliminate the exposure to sun by the users with less monitoring and higher efficiency is of utmost importance. This project is part of a big project at Stellenbosch University aimed at developing a system that is stand-alone in heat and electricity generation, and which can be used for rural development. The aspect of solar cooking is presented in this

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