Nepal’s devastating earthquake has shone a light on survival essentials for surviving climate change’s increasing, unannounced attacks. And what it has found is that they are becoming more solarized.
For its part, the United Nations refugee agency‘s airlifted essentials included 4,000 solar lanterns from eastern Nepal. Dubai is adding 4,000 solar lamps, via cargo plane, and all of them will provide much-needed light, warmth, and critical communication, charging cell phones and computers as the catastrophe unfolds. Indeed, forward-thinking outfits like Empower Generation were already onsite addressing Nepal’s power picture, before the earthquake jolted the nation into a new global warming normal.
Five days before it shook down Kathmandu, the Red Cross opened Nepal’s first solar-powered blood bank. Made of recycled cargo containers and lined with southeast-facing solar panels, it still stands, centrally located and providing protected blood for the relief effort, whose dead and injured have reached 8,000, and rising.
Of course, these local and international organizations are sending other must-have resources, but solar is playing an increasingly powerful role. When it comes to disaster relief in the time of global warming, solarized decentralizations like distributed generation and resilient microgrids are transitioning from niche solutions to no-brainers. As climate change’s extremes worsen, remote cities and glittering metropoles alike are going to need advanced demand response options. Solar’s piece of the existential puzzle will only grow.
“Nepal is blessed with solar resource,” the government’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre explains, noting solar PV and thermal technology brings the beautiful but imperiled Himalayan nation much-needed batteries, pumps, cookers, dryers, chargers, lamps and more. Given global warming’s quick-strike capability, we may all need these life-savers sooner than we think.
Solar-powered blood bank photo courtesy of The Red Cross.