A solar powered lamp and charger – the climax of Neil MacGregor’s History of the World in 100 Objects. The lamp works for 100 hours on eight hours of sunlight and the 15-minute programme explores how it is already changing millions of lives.
We get as much energy from the sun in one hour as we use across the world in a year, so if we could only harvest it our energy problems would be solved and the future of the human race would no longer be at risk as the planet warms. Neil MacGregor explores the advantages of solar power in emerging nations not only in bringing power to areas where there is no electricity grid, but also in bringing control over electricity supplies; there are areas where there is a grid but it’s unreliable and open to abuse by corrupt officials – someone can switch it off and only restore it if you pay. Solar power gives individuals freedom as well as opportunity.
MacGregor also quotes Thomas Edison, the inventor of the Light Bulb, speaking in 1931..
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy – what a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that..”