For us, Mauritania was the country that gave us the unexpected belief we could travel through it all-electric on purely self-generated solar energy. This was caused by a couple of factors; there is so much free space to put out our panels, every day we had only blue skies and the wind was not a risk factor to damage the panels. And so, we did… While in Morocco we charged 44% with our solar panels, we charged 100% with our solar in Mauritania, driving over 700 kilometers. It is almost impossible to describe how good it feels to travel this way!
The beauty of Mauritania
Mauritania is a unique country to cross. It has endless roads through flat and sandy landscapes that are just empty with only a small plant or dune now and then. The road is often more surprising than the landscape, with big holes to avoid which keeps you alert for sure. Once you think the predictable scenery will never stop, you arrive in a unique and quickly changing scenery with beautiful dunes and unique flora. The country surprised us with both its boringness as well as its beauty.
Charging the car with solar panels
We felt challenged to charge our electric car only with our own 60m2 solar panels, because of the many potential locations to charge and the good weather to do so. The fact that it was so easily done, shows the potential this country has to generate green energy for her own needs and maybe even neighboring countries. The question we asked ourselves is do the citizens see this potential?
Renewable energy in Mauritania
You should know that in Mauritania almost half of the people live in poverty. It would be understandable if the environment is therefore not their highest priority. However, generating green energy is something that would not only save their environment, but it could also mean a wealthier future for them.
We spoke to some locals about this topic, for example, an entrepreneur. He told us that our impact on the environment and the potential techniques to save our planet are not part of education here in Mauritania. Therefore, there is almost no knowledge about it at all. He set up a solar installation at one of his companies, and as it was done incorrectly the system broke down quite quickly. As a result, the investment was not worth it and he did not experience the true potential of these new techniques.
Another example is waste everywhere. Nobody is told the impact of throwing waste on the street or in nature, this is not seen as a problem at all. People are still used to their previous nomads’ lives, changing the location they live every now and then. Therefore, for many people, it does not matter if they make your home a mess with garbage and more. Because if needed they just move to the next location.
How to help each other
What is the best way to support a country like Mauritania to use its true potential in this climate transition? We would all benefit from it if they do, as climate change is not something you can do alone as a country.
We notice some locals were quite interested in our electric car and charging technique, and they noticed the potential. A long-term impact in a country with such a high potential, in our opinion, is only possible by educating the locals. This way you can help them grow. Nevertheless, this would take a lot of time. How could we accelerate this process? Or are we just impatient?