With the help of solar panels, the energy of the sun can be converted directly into electricity and stored in batteries. Due to ample sunshine in a wide range of developing countries, photovoltaic systems can offer an alternative to provide basic energy services in off-grid areas. Possible productive uses include lighting, powering information and communication technology (ICT) equipment as well as energy-efficient refrigeration.
UNIDO is currently implementing solar photovoltaic projects in India, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and the Maldives.
In thermal applications, solar energy is gathered in solar thermal collectors to create high temperature steam and low temperature heat, which can be used in a variety of heat and power applications in the residential and industrial sector. UNIDO particularly emphasizes solar thermal applications as they provide an economically and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fossil fuel technologies in industrial applications.
UNIDO is implementing a Caribbean Solar Financing Programme (CSFP) in St. Lucia
and Grenada, which aims at addressing key barriers that are hampering the development of a vibrant market for solar water heating (SWH) systems in these two countries.
UNIDO has also set up an International Centre for the Promotion and Transfer of Solar Energy Technology in Lanzhou, China. The centre makes a valuable contribution to the international development of solar energy and enhances technology transfer between China and developing countries, thus contributing to increased “South-South” cooperation. In addition, UNIDO is implementing a business information centre in Mozambique, powered by solar energy.