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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By Thomas Tang

 

Eco-Business partnerships director Thomas Tang explore the potential of off-grid solar power to address energy poverty in the developing world—and how the sector can overcome barriers to its growth. ​

 

Most urban dwellers and residents of developed countries likely take electricity for granted as something they can easily access at the flick of a switch. But this isn’t always the case for people living in remote, rural or impoverished areas, which may not be connected to the electricity grid.

This is where the ability to power homes using solar energy—and without a connection to the main electricity network—can make a difference. Companies realise that there is a market in bringing solar-generated electricity to the 1.1 billion people who lack access today. A key means by which they can do this is to lease solar home systems and allow customers—who often have limited means—to pay for what they can afford, and when they can manage payments.  

 

The recent Global Off-Grid Solar Forum & Expo, held in Hong Kong on 22 and 23 January 2018 and organised by the Netherlands-based Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) Global, offered a platform for experts to showcase new products and services that will bring electricity to communities across the world who live off the electricity grid.    

Solar energy is clean, sustainable and meets Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.  Burning kerosene or diesel as an alternative causes air pollution and greenhouse gases, and poses health problems through smoke inhalation. So, an off-grid solar business has immense social as well as environmental benefits. Small wonder that companies are flocking to this .

But as speakers at the conference noted, finding funding for start-up companies can be difficult if investors are not convinced that the proposed product distribution and pay-as-you-go systems will give the right financial returns.

However, the good news according to the , is that an estimated 73 million households have benefited from off-grid solar products ranging from small lighting appliances to integrated solar home systems with radios, televisions and home lighting.

A combination of Internet of Things technology and mobile phone payment systems has made it possible for companies to “lease” pay-as-you-go systems to impoverished consumers at modest prices, enabling them to secure a consumer base that is large enough to earn bountiful returns.

Furthermore, such business models can capture rich market data for companies to tailor consumer products; this information is also useful to government agencies for social policy making.

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