The house with solar roof Senegal

What will 2018 bring for off-grid solar systems

By Evie Harrison  2018 is the year of renewable energy resources. All around the world, people from all walks of life are looking for alternative energy sources not only because fossil fuels are running out, but also because they want to live clean lives. At the same time that electric cars making waves in various parts of the world, people have started to look to the sky for solar power. According to stats, solar power systems have experienced a sales , mostly due to the residents and businesses installing panels in China and America.Although fossil fuel energy consumption is decreasing, most people are still unaware of the benefits of going completely off-grid. It’s common knowledge that investing in a solar system will lead , they don’t know that there is a way to stop the utility bills once and for all. You can easily depend on other resources for power and electricity. 2018 has a lot to offer for off-grid systems and has developed tremendously.  Before diving in, however, it is important to k what off-grid solar systems are and whether or not they will be beneficial for you. So, without further delay, let’s look at what an off-the-grid system is. Photo by: royalty free image

The house with solar roof Senegal

The Innovative Light Up Kwara Project Comes Alive​

By Dr Dickson Aleroh MChem(Hons) MSc PhD  Following the signing of the technical/financial agreement by Riccofortezza-Asteven Energy Limited (an SPV made up of Riccofortezza Nigeria Limted and Asteven International Limited) and the Kwara State Government on the second day of the month of February 2017 in Ilorin, Kwara State, great strides have been made towards the anticipated completion of the innovative solar project. Such is the progress that has been made that phases 1 & 2, which involves the installation of over 500 single-arm and 240 double-arm LED solar street lights have been completed. The aforementioned installations are mainly concentrated within the Ilorin metropolis with subsequent phases to include the rural regions (Offa, Omaran, Patigi, Ajashe e.t.c) of the state. Much of the emphasis is now fully focused on the installation of the first on-road solar mini-grid system (aka. solar PV farm tunnel (SFT)) to be constructed by two indigenous companies in Africa with over 390 kW combined capacity.  Photo by Dr Dickson Aleroh

The house with solar roof Senegal

Renewables: No threat to oil & gas​

By Ayobami Adedinni  The renewable energy sector has been described as an opportunity rather than a threat to the oil and gas sector.In the past few years, there has been a lively debate about the increasing role of renewables at the expense of fossil fuels, particularly in power generation.Some say that renewables are not an existential threat and believe that they might take only a small piece of the pie by 2040, due to high costs and vital government subsidies.On the other hand, others believe that costs are declining fast, and it may take a significant share in power generation, knocking not just coal, but also natural gas off the throne.In an interview with business a.m, Olasimbo Sojinrin, country manager, Nigeria at solar sister, a social enterprise that seeks to eradicate energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity, said despite the continual use of oil and gas, it has been unable to mankind has been unable to solve mankind challenge the challenge of energy posed.This, according to her, is why conventional oil companies are now divesting into the sector. Photo by Georgi Nikolov on unsplash

The house with solar roof Senegal

Solar micro grids enable sustainable rural living

By Ariana Tozzi, Aparna Katre, Subhes C. Bhattacharyya  Over one billion people live without access to energy globally, but despite this, the latest  paints an optimistic picture about the future. Progress towards global universal electrification is accelerating and India’s “colossal achievements” put the country on course to reach universal electrification by 2030.To date, India’s remarkable progress has been largely driven by the expansion of the central grid, with a rate of electrification that has doubled since the early 2000s. The Indian government has claimed that 100% of villages are now considered electrified as part of the Dindayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana scheme promoted by the Ministry of Power. Most recently, the  scheme aims to extend electricity infrastructure to all households by March 2019. With  still lacking an electricity connection, this will be a challenging task.Grid connectivity alone cannot be an indicator of development unless usable, affordable and modern supply is ensured. The reliability, quality and duration of the supply from the central grid continues to be a particular problem in the Indian subcontinent, especially in rural areas of the country, which is home to almost .  in some of the most energy poor states highlighted how a large portion of rural electrified households still rely on kerosene lamps as their primary source of illumination, with significant implications on the health and well-being of these communities.Remote villages are particularly challenging when it comes to provision of reliable and affordable power. , the costs of a central grid extension to a remote rural village of around 30 households whose distance from the closest grid line is approximately 5 km could be up to INR 46 (USD 70 cents). This is far higher than the  (US 4 cent) per unit that an average urban residential consumer pays. Photo by Adam Barr

The house with solar roof Senegal

Indonesia makes strides in solar energy​

By Daniel J. Graeber  More than $150 million in loans will help Indonesia build its first utility-scale solar power plants, the Asian Development Bank said Thursday.ADB said it would offer financial support for a project led by Vena Energy, the largest power producer in the Asia-Pacific, to advance renewable energy projects in Indonesia. The first phase of the project calls for the construction of a 72 megawatt wind power plant. The second phase calls for a combined 28 MW in solar power plants, the first ever envisioned for the country. Vena Energy CEO Nitin Apte said his company was capitalizing on Indonesia's renewable energy commitments. Photo by Mike Merner on Unsplash

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Financing Renewable Energy in Africa in the SDG Era​

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The house with solar roof Senegal

By David Chama Kaluba

 

 

Why is investment in renewable energy important for Africa?

 

Estimates by the International Energy Agency that close to 600 million people in Africa, which represents a little less than 60 percent of the continent’s total population, do not have access to electricity, while around 780 million rely on traditional solid biomass for cooking (mainly fuelwood and agricultural waste). Nearly 80 percent of those lacking access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa are living in rural areas. Looking at the targets contained in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted by countries that are party to the Paris Agreement, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that Africa’s renewable power installed capacity could increase by 290 percent between 2015 and 2030, compared to 161 percent for Asia and 43 percent for Latin America. IRENA also estimates that the cost-effective potential for renewables on the continent is around 310 gigawatts by 2030.

In terms of financing needs, the World Bank has a required investment of US$43 billion per year in infrastructure in the power sector, while the African Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) a need for a package of US$41 billion per year to finance the development of the energy sector in Africa. According to the Africa Progress Panel, an additional investment of US$55 billion per year will be needed until 2030 to achieve universal access to electricity on the continent. Looking at renewable energy specifically, IRENA has estimated that to fully exploit Africa’s significant potential in renewables, US$32 billion will be needed on average every year from 2015 to 2030. Most of these estimates are based on the cheapest source of energy and must thus be seen as a lower floor for the investment needed in renewable energy. In this context, how does Africa secure these funds?

 

Financial instruments

 

Coming back to some of the specific projects mentioned above, we note that in the case of the Moroccan solar project, the funding avenues included resources from the German KfW development bank, the European Union, the European Investment Bank, and the Saudi Arabian ACWA Power group. In the Mutemwa project, the role of partnerships between the government of Zambia, the Climate Investment Fund, and the World Bank is also part of the story. In each case, it is worth noting that the grant mechanism served as a means to de-risk these important investments. For example, the World Bank provided a US$4.5 million grant towards the first phase of the main Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience project to support the efforts by the government of Zambia to conduct feasibility and baseline studies, draft operation manuals, establish institutions with appropriate staff and systems, engage stakeholders, and raise awareness among members of the benefiting communities on their role in the project. Being a community-based intervention for adaptation with co-benefits in climate change mitigation, the Mutemwa project received grant funding for this innovative initiative.

Overall, international cooperation through bilateral and multilateral relationships has played a crucial role in delivering the much-needed technical, technological transfer, and financial support towards renewable energy projects in Africa, both large and small in scale. African countries have the opportunity to utilise the global social and environmental goodwill to access cheap technical, technological, and financial resources to make leaps in the continent’s sustainable development agenda. The Mutemwa and Morocco consolidations of various financing instruments are good examples of how African countries can mobilise various resources to achieve scale and secure the necessary project financing.

The current financing landscape hosts large players such as the World Bank, which had a US$61 billion portfolio in 2016, funding large and small infrastructure projects all over the world, including Africa. Alongside a large loan portfolio, the World Bank also provides concessional financing to countries whose GDP per capita does not exceed US$1,215 per annum. In total, an US$12.6 billion was allocated towards projects in sub-Saharan Africa by the World Bank in 2016. The African Development Bank, based within the continent, has a total of US$103 billion in loans and grants across Africa since its creation in 1974. In 2016, the Bank US$6.3 billion towards projects and programmes on the African continent. Another important source of funding, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), was established in 1992 on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit by UNEP, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank, with the objective of tackling the world’s pressing environmental problems, and is a reliable response to some of the SDGs. To date, it has over US$17 billion in grants for various projects worldwide. Most recently, the world saw the emergence of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in 2011, and its first financial envelope reached US$10.6 billion in 2015. Like the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the GEF, the GCF offers avenues for supporting private sector initiatives towards development objectives.

Taken together, these funding channels offer a variety of funding options, making available both grants and loans (concessional and non-concessional) to countries depending on the nature of the specific projects they seek to finance. Other players such as the European Investment Bank, the European Union, the Japanese Development Agency, the United States Agency for International Development, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Danish International Development Agency, the UK’s Department for International Development, the Canadian International Development Agency, and other bilateral institutions also provide grants and loan schemes to African countries. In this sense, opportunities for financing the SDGs, and renewable energy projects in particular, are wide-ranging.

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