Changes in energy sources and their use have fueled economic growth, but this has not occurred evenly throughout the world.
Before the lightbulb, man went from burning wood, to paraffin and whale oil, to kerosene. When Thomas Edison and his associates successfully built the first incandescent electric lightbulb in 1879, they did so with the goal of creating a high resistance system that would require far less electrical power than was used by existing arc lamps. The role of technological innovation in that context was to maximize the output from a specific fuel source to meet our energy needs. Since then, the evolution of lighting has made it cheaper, more convenient, and more efficient—freeing up time and resources. Enhanced agricultural productivity could not have happened without innovation in energy systems like tractors, irrigation, machinery for drying, and food processing.
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Original image courtesy of SunFunder