The residential solar industry has been through a lot of ups and downs in the past few years. SolarCity was the top solar company in 2014 before running into rising costs, falling installations, and now a rapidly deteriorating business after it was acquired by Tesla.
“We needed a cheaper alternative and I was tasked to develop a solar water heating system for the company. A good coincidence because, back at school, I was already in the process of designing a solar water heating system. I took the opportunity and delved deeper to research and further test the viability of my design,” says the 26-year-old graduate of Mechanical Engineering for the University of Nairobi.
Solar water was hot in the 1980s, but due to the poor performance of some of those early systems, it faded into relative obscurity. Nobody wanted to deal with scalding water on hot days and cold showers at night.
Water heating accounts for 17 percent of a typical home’s energy use, so it’s a ripe target for savings.
In a quest to cut the cost of clean electricity, power utilities around the world are supersizing their solar farms.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in southern Egypt, where what will be the world’s largest solar farm — a vast collection of more than 5 million photovoltaic panels — is now taking shape. When it’s completed next year, the $4 billion Benban solar park near Aswan will cover an area 10 times bigger than New York’s Central Park and generate up to 1.8 gigawatts of electricity.