The house with solar roof Senegal

The role of solar lights and solar home systems in modern day disaster relief

Aletta D'cruz, Digital Content and Communications Associate, Googla  Just over three weeks ago, Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and caused extreme rainfall, flooding and high winds in Malawi. With more than  in these regions, the destruction witnessed in the aftermath of this natural disaster has been devasting. Relief camps set up in old buildings and tents across the three countries have been bringing temporary relief to the displaced. However, when lives are thrown into chaos by natural disasters, basic needs are snatched away – one of which is access to safe and reliable energy. While many NGOs and local aid organizations power their relief camps with the help of battery-operated lights and fossil fuel-run generators, the route to accessing resources to keep the flow of energy constant is not an easy one. A couple of GOGLA members displayed the benefits of renewable energy and off-grid solar in such situations, as they joined relief work in Zimbabwe and Malawi. Seeing the need for immediate lighting within a number of relief camps, , and  launched into action to meet this need locally in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi respectively. All three companies, who ordinarily do not partake in emergency response, provided local NGOs and aid agencies with solar lights and solar home systems to help light up their camps. Located in Mozambique, SolarWorks! experienced loss close to home with around 35 team members losing their homes. Their effort to provide relief started with offering temporary shelter to these team members and their immediate families within their offices. SolarWorks! also partnered with GIZ, Save the Children, Omnivoltaic and EDP Renewables to supply solar home systems to relief camps and shelters across the country. SolarAid, on the other hand, decided to join relief efforts in Southern Malawi after they heard about the devastation in the area from their social enterprise, SunnyMoney’s staff, and sales agents. In collaboration with local authorities and the Malawi Red Cross, a distribution plan for solar lights and solar home systems was developed. Photo by: Solar Aid

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


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The Global Off Grid Sector Continues to Grow in Confidence



By Christine Eibs Singer


The decentralized renewable energy industry has gone through a tremendous amount of innovation, transformation and increasing documented impact over the years.

One example of this growth was shown during last month’s in Hong Kong, From formal sessions to hallway conversations, there was a much greater focus on company and investor participation with more of a business and commercial tone. Notably, it was focused on the growth trajectory of the private sector industry.

As highlighted in ) recent series, less than 1% of the total financing committed to electricity access in 2013-2014 was targeted to decentralized solutions. The , launched at the forum, is a strong statement on the overall position of the industry, recognizing the dual reality that few companies are declaring profits, yet massive sums of new investment are needed.

This financing demand is happening as the off grid solar industry is struggling to meet both impact and return expectations placed on it by the global development and investment communities, a tension that must be managed. If not, the worry is that grid advocates will cry out that the sector can never meet the energy access challenge and thus grid-scale solutions are, of course, the answer.

Yet as CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, , the time has never been better to actually achieve energy access with decentralized solutions, especially in Africa where we are seeing examples of policy reforms that are working, investment climates that are attracting long-term financing and innovation that is poised to grow exponentially.

Conversations at international events are also changing now. While consumers and many of their civil society group advocates may not physically be in the room, conversations are focusing much more on affordability of off grid solar for the ‘last-mile’ household, consumer protection principles, safety net approaches and achieved.

This imperative to leave no one behind increased our focus on how to best utilize public resources to increase access to electricity, particularly in last-mile communities and latent, frontier markets. The translation of development impacts achieved through off grid solutions into data to influence financial and policy decisions, the subject of , should further inform discussions on best use of public resources.

Addressing how to most efficiently use public resources to increase private investment to close energy access gaps is a priority for the off-grid sector. There is strong agreement that public and philanthropic funding is needed to deploy energy access solutions and meet universal energy access goals – the private sector and market based approaches are not going to be able to deliver universal energy access alone. In order for public and private investment to productively align, however, companies at the Hong Kong forum vociferously called for a seat at the table when public programs and subsidies are being designed and stressed that there be a clear examination on the impact of public interventions in nascent commercial markets.

And what is my expectation, as we look ahead? As the industry becomes better developed and more visible, as for its various components become more familiar and accepted, as lenders and investors become more confident, and as economies of scale inevitably develop, it is likely that the use of solar home systems and other decentralized solutions will become significantly more widespread in emerging markets, especially in harder-to-reach remote areas.

With ever-cheaper solar technologies, emerging business models, the mobile revolution, efficient appliances, innovative financing, the reality on grid limitations and true public-private engagement, the time for a revolution in off-grid markets is now.

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