Tag: Solar power

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2017’s Interesting Energy Innovations

Just as 2016 was a landmark year for renewable energy, 2017 looks to be even more important for this growing industry. Innovation is going to be the renewable energy trend in 2017 and we are likely to see some very interesting developments that will have the power to change the way that we look at energy. Although change is happening slowly, the world is making a commitment to Going Green more than ever before. We are becoming more educated about the damage that has been inflicted on our planet and we are becoming more aware of the consequences of doing nothing.

One positive that we can take from Going Green is that we are being forced to be creative with our energy and this means that more exciting projects are being developed.

Today, there are plenty of great ideas floating around, waiting to be turned into real-life projects that have the ability to transform all of our lives. There are some ideas that are too risky to consider at the moment, too drastic to implement while there is still time to heal the earth.

But while some ideas are still just concepts and some that are many years away from being developed into a reality, other safer ideas are closer to being realised.

But 2017 is the year that revolutionary ideas that can be put into practice are likely to come to life.

Projects to look out for in 2017

Recycled water

Grey water systems are great for watering gardens and washing cars, but it is of course not safe to drink. Until now, the idea of generating purified water from sewerage sludge has not only been unfeasible but not wholly supported by communities and investors.

When Bill Gates drank the first glass of distilled water using the Omniprocessor, people were sceptical but when looking at the science behind the processor responsible for generating this water, the idea takes on a whole different shape.

Sewer sludge is boiled and the water vapour is removed from the solids. The solids are burned which turns to steam and in turn, helps to generate electricity. This electricity keeps the system functioning without taking power from the grid and any excess power created is sent back into the community. The water vapour is sent into a cleaning system which purifies it into the cleanest water your will ever drink!

This processor is ideal for developing countries that still lack access to clean running water and stable electricity. The small processor can also become an income generating project for developing nations!

Clean water for African communities is becoming a reality, especially with the advancements in 2017
Clean water for African communities is becoming a reality, especially with the advancements in 2017

Carbon capturing cement

The process of replacing the fossil fuels which are being used in infrastructure is a slow one and this is because fossil fuels have a devastatingly long lifespan.

Carbon capture is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing the amount of carbon that is a big cause of global warming. This process is guaranteed to change the transitions that the planet is making towards reducing emissions.

While we have already found a way to remove carbon from the smoke release during manufacturing, as well as from the air, it is an expensive process and it needs to be done at a lower cost in order for it to be worthwhile. Then there is also the problem of where the carbon is sent once it has been extracted.

Right now, that place is within the ground. The carbon that is being placed underground is being done to stimulate oil production, which in a way defeats the purpose of removing the carbon in the first place.

But there is now a better idea on the way. CarbonCure is a company that is injecting carbon into cement where it will be isolated and become less harmful to the environment. The cement industry is responsible for around 5% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. While this does reduce the amount of carbon dioxide as a result of production, it does not completely eliminate all of it.

This process is currently being experimented with in an effort to make it profitable and more effective.

Imitation beef

What does meat free beef have to do with renewable energy you ask? Did you know that the beef industry is to blame for huge amounts of carbon emissions? While it might not be everyone’s favourite thing to eat, meat-free beef is a fantastic vegetarian replacement that is supposed to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. While the initial tests have proven this meat is popular in certain circles, it has not yet been introduced to the masses and so there is no proof that it will be competitive in the market.

Taste and price will ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not this renewable food option stays relevant in the long run.

Pay as you go solar power

Pay as you go solar power is the next leap in solar energy and it is going to have a wonderfully positive effect on energy for communities without access to national electrical resources.
Pay as you go solar power is the next leap in solar energy and it is going to have a wonderfully positive effect on energy for communities without access to national electrical resources.

Again, 2017 will be the year in which solar power will take the centre stage in the ongoing struggle to ensure that renewable energy is effective. The people will always come first when it comes to renewable energy and it is more important that people and the environment benefit before there is a profit.

Azuri Technologies is a company that has worked out how to affordably provide solar power to homes that are off the grid in Africa, and they have come up with a way that is beneficial. Charging a small amount, a family can have a basic solar power unit that will be enough to power two lights and to charge a mobile device. To keep the unit functioning, the family will need to purchase credits although the price that they will pay will be far lower than they would normally spend on kerosene for lighting. The family will save on energy costs and 18 months after paying for their units, they will own their system.

And, this system has already been proven to work in 11 sub-Saharan Africa and has also won awards. This pay as you go system is bridging the gap between the grid and those who have no access to it, which means that people no longer have to wait for power to come to them. These households are skipping ahead, avoiding the conventional use of electricity and immediately benefitting from having solar energy.

Are you planning on Going Green in 2017? You can with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have the systems that can transform the way that you both consider energy and use it. With solar systems, energy efficient air conditioners, grey water systems and solar geysers, you can be a part of the group revolutionising an industry reliant on fossil fuels.

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2017 might be the year that solar power becomes cheaper than coal

2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.

This could be the biggest turning point in Green energy history!

In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.

“In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.

While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records.  These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.

This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices.  Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.

Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy.  In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.

“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”

The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.
The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.

Change is coming

While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017.  Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.

But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.

Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.

2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.

You can equip your home or business with solar technology from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have a selection of solar systems including solar panels suitable for a variety of building structures. Contact us or browse our website to find out more about how you can Go Green.

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Make 2017 your Greenest year yet in 7 Simple steps

It just takes a few simple lifestyle changes to turn your world Green. While installing solar panels or energy efficient air conditioning in your home or business, you can make a remarkable difference in how much you spend each month, but there are also a few other things you can do.

7 Easy Ways to help the environment

  1. Walk or cycle

If you are lucky enough to live and/or work close to shops, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of driving you do and instead opt to walk or cycle. In South Africa, we are not exactly living in cities that are planned in such a way that walking or cycling is always a viable option but if you can use your feet instead of your tyres, this simple method to Go Green is not only going to help the environment but it is also going to benefit your health!

  1. Use your reusable bags

When South African shops stopped providing plastic bags for free when purchasing products, many of us invested in reusable bags. But how many of us still remember to take them when we shop. Normally, we end up buying plastic bags, something that we could completely avoid. Instead of paying for a plastic bag every time you shop, make a habit of actually using your reusable bags. Not buying plastic bags is the environmentally friendly option.

  1. Drink water wisely

Buying bottled water is a trend that has truly exploded these last few years and with it has come millions of plastic bottles. If you want to help the planet and reduce your own carbon footprint, you might want to rethink buying that bottle of water. By not buying bottled water you will be helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste that can be found in landfills throughout the world. If you are still concerned about the purity of the water you are consuming, you can always install a water filtration system in your home and store purified water in glass bottles or environmentally safe reusable plastic water bottles.

Water can be stored and collected wisely
Water can be stored and collected wisely
  1. Stainless steel straws

Do you or your family use straws on a daily basis? The amount of plastic that is thrown away in the form of used straws is quite phenomenal but when you choose to use stainless steel straws you can reduce your carbon footprint. These straws can be carried around with you and they can be used for all of your favourite drinks. Stainless steel straws are safe to use and easy to keep clean.

  1. Plant a garden

Adding some greenery to your home is one of the best ways to create a calming atmosphere while contributing to a healthier environment. Unfortunately, not all homes have the space to have the kind of garden you’d like, but even a few plants on a window sill can make a difference in your home. You can buy low maintenance pot plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen. You will definitely notice the difference in your home with a few pot plants.

  1. Cut back on your shower time

If you are already showering instead of running a bath, you are saving water. But the size of the difference you make depends greatly on the amount of time that you spend in your shower. The average shower can use as much as 10 litres of water for every minute that you shower. So it makes sense that if you want to live a Greener life, you should spend a minimal amount of time in the shower. 5 minutes is the perfect amount of time, and by playing a 5-minute long song, you can start or end your day on a high!

  1. Commit to recycling

Making the decision to recycle is easy, committing to doing it is something else. Many of us want to help the planet by recycling, but few of us are able to fully commit to recycling everything that can be put through the various recycling processes. This year you can add one or two extra bins in your home or business, label them glass or plastic (or whatever you’d like to recycle) and then place your rubbish in the relevant bins.

With our Green solutions, you can make a difference in 2017
With our Green solutions, you can make a difference in 2017

You can Go Green in 2017 by using these really simple ideas. If you are building in 2017 or renovating, and you want to make a serious, long-term commitment to the environment, then you can always work with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We supply the best quality solar systems, LED lighting, energy efficient air conditioning and grey water systems in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

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The 6 most unexpected places to find solar power

When taking a walk around your neighbourhood it is probably not unusual for you to see a few solar panels on your neighbours roof. Solar power is growing in popularity; it is affordable to install and provides sustainable, free energy that benefits the environment!

There are so many additional possibilities for solar power than just providing electricity for a home. Innovations from around the world are using solar power in unexpected ways, and the success of these projects are going a long way towards creating a world that depends on energy from the sun.

These unusual, unexpected ways to use solar power will inspire you to think differently about how you can transform how you use energy.

    1. Solar powered bicycle path

The Dutch always seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to alternative energy, and they have done it again through an interesting collaboration between the Dutch provincial government and a group of Dutch companies. Bicycling as a means to get around is exceptionally popular in the Netherlands and bicycle paths have been created to accommodate these road users.

The project recently undertaken has created a solar powered bicycle path of around 70 meters, called SolaRoad. The path is one long solar panel sandwiched between prefabricated concrete and a layer of tempered glass.

The path has been made smooth enough so that dirt doesn’t stick to it and block out the sun, while at the same time it is not too slippery, enabling cyclists to easily navigate it.

What is the point of the SolaRoad? The strip of solar panel will generate around 700 kilowatts of energy for homes in the area. It took 5 years to build the path and 3.5 million Euros, but this interesting approach to using solar energy will surely inspire similar paths to be built around the world.

    1. Solar public rubbish bins

Any surface exposed to the sun can generate solar power with the right equipment. In New York, city rubbish bins have been given a solar makeover with a number of them being equipped with a solar panel, solar battery, and a compactor. Bigbelly Solar Inc. has been producing these trash bins and distributing around 30 000 bins in Amsterdam, Chicago, New York and Berlin.

These trash cans are not being used to power homes or buildings but the energy they create is used to alert the company as to when the bin needs to be emptied, this limits the amount of energy used to continually check whether the rubbish bins need to be emptied. The energy that is created can be stored for up to 72 hours.

South Africa receives well over 2500 hours of sunlight each year, imagine the possibilities of equipping our public bins with solar harnessing capabilities.

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Solar power rubbish bins, such as these, are being used all over the world.

 

    1. Solar powered ship

12 million Euros were spent to build the world’s first 35 meters long solar powered ship. Solar panels line the entire surface and when fully charged the ship is able to run for 72 hours in complete darkness.

The first ship of its kind was built by a German entrepreneur and did a full tour of the world in 2010, proving its immense capabilities and replication possibilities. The ship was named Turanor, which means “power of the sun”, in the language Tolkien created for his book trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

    1. Solar tents

Taking camping to the next level and minimising the need to lug around gas bottles or generators, a solar powered tent is bound to peak the interests of every camper.

These tents were originally created by the United States Army. Each tent is fit with flexible solar panels, which can harness enough sun energy to power computers, batteries, and other military gear. This minimises the need for their army to carry extra weight.

The tents are not yet available but they are being tested in Africa and the Middle East. This project has also led to further experiments to create solar harnessing tape and fabrics, essentially creating solar powered clothing.

    1. Solar parking lots

Many parking areas provide covered shading for vehicles to park under, sheltering them during the heat of the day. Now these shades are being fit with solar panels. Such installations are obviously beneficial for many reasons especially as shaded parking is popular in every city.

The energy created by these parking lots can be used to reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity used within a building complex, thereby reducing the monthly accounts of the tenants or business owners.

    1. Solar powered airports

South Africa is really taking advantage of all those sunny daylight hours. As of 2016, South Africa is now home to 3 Green airports. These airports receive all of their energy via nearby solar plants and the most recent addition was built by the National Department of Transport, Airports South Africa.

The three solar-powered airports in South Africa are found in Upington, Kimberly, and George, and they are sure to influence the building of similar projects throughout the country and perhaps in nations around the globe.

With each new solar invention, we are one step closer to a cleaner world.
With each new solar invention, we are one step closer to a cleaner world.

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is the Green Company paving the way forward for homes and businesses to Go Green using solar geysers, solar panels, LED lights, solar lights, and grey water systems. We’ve worked with numerous clients in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Contact us for your innovative, Green technology.

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What to know before you buy solar lighting

Solar lights are one of the recent and perhaps less known developments in the Green industry, as well as in lighting industry, and follow on from the already popular solar technology that is currently being used by people all over the world. Solar lighting is great for outdoor areas at home and for public settings alike, providing stable light without the hassle of connecting wires. With this lighting, you will not be left in the dark with power outages. And this is just one reason why it is worth changing the way that you light your garden, the outside of your home or for your parking areas.

What are solar lights?

As with all of the other solar powered appliances and devices, solar lights are rechargeable products which are powered by the sun. Solar lights are powered by a photovoltaic system which includes a solar panel to catch solar light during the day.

This light energy is then stored until it is needed after the sun sets later in the day.

The most common areas in which this lighting is used is outdoors, where the light can charge for an entire day. Outdoor garden lights can be placed anywhere in the garden, unlike conventional lighting which will require wiring and therefore a little more consideration as to where the lighting will be placed. These outdoor lights are a fantastic option if you are looking for cost effective security lighting or if you are simply looking for an effective way to light your path at night. This form of lighting can also be decorated in certain ways, adding a certain aesthetic appeal to your landscape.

Solar street lights and lighting for parking areas are also an option to look at when you want an environmentally friendly and affordable way to provide enough lighting to darkened areas. Solar lights have also been used to light billboards at night.

As solar lights are known to be used as decorative features, this form of lighting comes in all kinds of designs and colours. This is what makes these lights great for parties and other get-togethers.

The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.
The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.

How do solar lights work?

With the PV system attached, solar lights generate their own electricity in the exact way that other solar power is made. To put it simply, when the sun shines on the panel, the electrons become, for want of a better word, excited. This process is what generates the power that keeps the light shining throughout the night. The system also includes a solar battery to store power. The panel is far smaller than the one you’d normally see on a solar PV system on top of a home’s roof. In this case, the panel is usually small enough to fit the top of the light.

The following morning, when the light energy has run out, the process will repeat itself all through the day and be recharged and ready to light up again the next night.

Why use solar lighting?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to light an area, and you don’t want to have to pay out or deal with having to have the wiring seen to and the devices installed, then solar lighting can be the better option.

Solar lighting is basically lighting for free as once the initial setup is done, you will never have to pay for the light that you get. Free lighting to massive areas is certainly worth it once you have decided to install these lights.

Here are a few other reasons why solar lights should be something you consider:

  • The energy is 100% free, clean and renewable.
  • You don’t have to worry about the lighting being damaged. These devices are made from durable materials.
  • If you are already looking for a way to make your entire lifestyle Green, then this is another step you can take.
  • Solar lights can be installed just about anywhere, so long as they receive sunlight.
  • The installation process is wonderfully simple and you will be able to do it yourself.
  • You will be saving on your monthly costs by not having to pay out anything extra each month to have this lighting.

Solar lights, along with solar geysers and solar systems, are the more cost-effective option to go with and in the long run, you are going to be happy that you made the decision to install these versatile lights. If you have any questions or want to install this lighting, you can contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We can give you great advice about which lights to choose as well as other ways to live a Greener lifestyle.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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The Living Building Challenge: Designs for the Future

Imagine a world where sustainable energy and sustainable living is free for everyone. Sustainable in the way that we can be fully reliant on renewable energy to supply us with everything we would normally get from non-sustainable energy? This is a future which could become a reality should the exciting new concept of living buildings takes over.

As a part of the Green Architecture industry, living buildings are becoming a popular way for people to Go Green. Sometimes the term living building is applied to a home that has features such as solar panels and solar geysers to produce energy from the sun, but a living building is not just a structure that has solar systems.

Living buildings are designed to be 100% dependent on nature.

Living buildings are pushing designers and architects to their limits and encouraging them to think beyond their usual ideas of building homes or other structures. Sustainable building is certainly not a new concept, but living buildings are in many ways new as the focus is on the home as a whole and not just on the way that electricity is produced.

Your home is your ecosystem with the Living Building Challenge

A few years back, the Living Building Challenge was launched and the concept gained plenty of attention.  The entire concept is based on a flower, which takes energy from the earth to be able to blossom and grow.

Today, after a couple of years, the Living Building Challenge is pushing design forward and paving the way for an energy sustainable future for everyone. Some of the features that contribute to building a fully sustainable building include installing solar panels, sustainable heating and cooling systems, rain gardens to harvest water, a natural filter to clean and reuse wastewater, and natural sunlight for the interior, while the entire structure itself is built with environmentally sustainable, eco-friendly materials.

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Living homes make use of solar power and grey water systems along with a number of other systems.
Living homes make use of solar power and grey water systems along with a number of other systems.

These structures use no more energy than they are able to produce themselves. This means that energy is easily saved because it is always used sparingly. These kinds of Green buildings are the toughest out there, you will not find a structure more committed to renewable energy.

A basic look at how the living building works according to the Living Building Challenge

Energy, that is the electricity that is required to keep the place functioning, is generated using solar power. The dedication to Green energy starts when the building is under construction as a solar system is set up to generate enough electricity to complete the project. As with other solar systems, any unused energy goes back into the national grid.

Water is collected from the building as well. The run off from the roof is gathered from any rain or other precipitation and any grey water can be used for the irrigation of plants. Black water is also collected and both the grey water and the black water are treated on site, within the building.

On the inside, the focus is on living well and ensuring that the inhabitants enjoy a healthy life. Plants are used within the home to treat grey water as well as to provide clean air to the interior. Indoor lighting during the day comes naturally from the sun.

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One day we might be once more reliant on nature to provide for all of our energy needs.
One day we might be once more reliant on nature to provide for all of our energy needs.

To ensure that the structures are able to continue to provide for the inhabitants and designers need to prove that their buildings are dependent on nature alone.

Is the future really going to feature living buildings? This is almost a certainty so long as the designs can be proved to be sustainable. The future of the Green industry certainly looks interesting, who knows what envelopes will soon be pushed? What do you think?

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is a Green contracting company dedicated to sustainable building methods and building products such as solar geysers, solar panels, grey water recycling systems and energy efficient lighting. You can find out more about us by visiting our website at http://www.greenleafalternativesolutions.co.za/ or by contacting us at info@leafas.co.za

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Turning Chernobyl into the world’s biggest solar power farm

On the 26th of April 1986, the world experienced something that has been feared since the invention of nuclear technology: a nuclear disaster. On this day the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former USSR (modern Ukraine) experienced an explosion which released harmful radioactive chemicals into the atmosphere and onto the surrounding earth. The catastrophe affected over 500 000 people and 31 people lost their lives in the nuclear meltdown. Remaining a desolate area, a no-go destination for the last 30 years, there is hope that Chernobyl will have a Green makeover.

The disaster released more radiation than the combination of the atom bombs dropped during the Second World War. The legacy of what happened is seen in the genetic mutations and increased mortality rates that have plagued both the human and the animal population in the area. But now the Ukrainian government has decided it is time to give the area a new legacy, a more positive one, by turning Chernobyl into a renewable energy farm.

There is a proposal suggesting that a solar energy plant is built in the area, and if this becomes a reality, a massive 1-gigawatt of solar power and 400 megawatts of biogas will be produced every year!

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The solar farm will be the first of its kind built on a nuclear disaster zone.
The solar farm will be the first of its kind built on a nuclear disaster zone.

 

The Ukrainian government is predicting that the plant will take around 6 months to complete, with proposals for funding already being sent investment companies in the USA, the UK, and Canada. Should this plan become a reality, the plant will provide around a third of what the former nuclear plant was capable of producing.

The irony is not lost when you consider that Chernobyl remains one of the world’s biggest environmental disasters of our time, but now something Green is going to be built on the land. Not to mention that this technology is considered to be one of the world’s safest ways to produce energy.

Working on a time limit

The 6 month proposed time frame to build this solar and biomass energy plant means there is likely to be a strain on the team and on the resources. But there are two big benefits of building on this site and they are the 4GW nuclear reactor that is still in place along with power lines that can still be used.

A few of the investors who have been approached have expressed their interest, but along with a very short time limit, the money to be raised amounts to between $1 and $1.5 billion US dollars. A spokesperson for the project has said that nothing is imminent and that they are keeping an open mind. However, their top priority is to secure the necessary finances. It is also encouraging that the Ukrainian government has said that it will open the exclusion zone should the project get a financial green light.  The land cannot be used for anything else, which means that it is cheap and can be used for this exciting solar power project.

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Renewable Green power is going to be the way of the future.
Renewable Green power is going to be the way of the future.

 

There is a boom in solar power’s popularity in the Ukraine and recently a solar power plant was built north of Chernobyl.

The Ukraine will benefit greatly from having this source of electricity as it will go a long way towards the country being more independent with their access to power.

While the land won’t be habitable in our lifetime, as the plutonium isotope from the spill lasts for more than 24 000 years, the world can look forward to something good coming from an otherwise terrible event.

Looking at turning your own home or business into a solar power haven or are you a contractor looking for the best prices and most reliable products for your construction project? Green Leaf Alternative Solutions can offer you exceptional solar power products at great prices. We also have a range of other renewable energy items for you.

Visit the rest of our website: www.greenleafas.co.za

Get in touch: info@greenleafas.co.za[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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