Solar hot water in the developing world – why so rare?

There’s a big need for low cost, effective solar hot water designs. This is not just a matter of saving money (and of course all the other benefits of saving energy, like saving the planet). Many people around the world do not have hot water on tap, and would benefit from easier washing of clothes and dishes, not to mention that it’s just much more pleasant with hot water (why should rich people have all the luxuries?)

We have some work detailed on Appropedia, which were built in Parras, Mexico. But we need much more, and we need super-simple how-tos. These are largely sunny places – even a black pipe lying in the sun will create hot water. But what is the most hot water, and the most straightforward, reliable product that someone can get for the money they spend?

One challenge that faces such countries is that they often have fossil fuel subsidies, especially those countries that are traditional oil-producers. Solar loses much of its economic advantage when dirty fuel gets a perverse subsidy. Changing someone’s thinking to save a very small amount of money is hard. But with other angles to complement the economic incentives, there is hope. Get kids involved – get the ideas taught in the schools. Emphasize the green side of things, the benefits for their children, and make the designs freely available in people’s own language. None of these are enough on their own, but add “and you save a little money” – and maybe it will all add up.

These thoughts triggered by:Why Isn’t Solar Energy being used in Egypt! by solarkent