Comment: Renewable energy is the key to combating African climate change

Off-grid solar sector witnesses sales of 4.1 million products in six months​

pv-magazine.net  Industry body Gogla and the World Bank’s Lighting Global program said the last six months set a record for off-grid solar deployment. Solar home systems and other small off-grid appliances are being used in ever larger numbers. The latest figures for off-grid solar sales indicate a market which continues to experience robust growth across Africa and Asia, with 680,000 solar home systems sold in the first six months of the year and 2.8 million solar lanterns taking the cumulative sales of such devices past the 1 million mark.Those were among the headline findings of the latest of the biannual Global Off-grid Solar Market Reports published by industry association Gogla and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global program. The latest statistics illustrate booming sales for products including solar lanterns, single PV panels and solar home systems with a generation capacity of 100 W or more.The six-month figures included the sale of 600,000 multi-light installations. The report’s authors state more than  as 4.1 million off-grid solar products were installed during the period.East Africa remains the off-grid industry’s most important market and was the destination for 1.74 million units in the first half. South Asia has become the second biggest market, with 1.16 million units shipped during the period, although pay-as-you-go (PAYG) financing is virtually non-existent outside Africa. Other African and Asian markets lag far behind, with sales volumes ranging from 120,000 in central Africa to 410,000 in the Middle East and North Africa.The report suggests 3.1 million of the systems shipped in the first half were paid for in cash, generating receipts of $85 million.  financing accounted for 1 million systems and record sales of $216 million. From laps to modules The most popular items sold in the first half had a power rating of up to 3 W, indicating solar lanterns, with 2.7 million shipped. Such small units are far more likely to bought for cash with larger, more expensive systems requiring pay-as-you-go finance and the figures bear that out with  paying for 3-100 W systems. Systems larger than 100 W were mostly funded in cash as they are usually targeted at small businesses, more able to afford the one-off expense.In growth terms, systems with 50-100 W output leaped from $23 million sales in the second half of last year to $62 million in the latest window.Gogla and Lighting Global estimate an astonishing , with around 110 million currently using them because of their limited lifespan. That adds up to $4.9 billion in additional income generated by such devices for their owners, the latest report claims, with $10.5 billion of energy savings recouped since 2010 and around . Regional differences Within the overall success story there are regional differences, dependent on local factors. For instance, the Kenyan off-grid solar market has witnessed 45% PAYG growth since the second half of 2018, buoyed by a supportive regulatory environment and expanding network of off-grid solar agents. By contrast, the market in Tanzania almost halved during the same period, with a lackluster commercial environment, customs checks delaying imports and lack of legal clarity about PAYG microfinance cited as problematic. MARIAN WILLUHN is Covering news on power electronics, start-ups, and inverters, Marian writes for pv magazine’s International, Australian, and German online presences. He also edits the international print magazine and organizes webinars and events.

Morocco Builds First Solar-Powered Village in Africa

Morocco Builds First Solar-Powered Village in Africa​

MOROCCO WORLD NEWS  The village is a pilot project that could be reproduced all over Morocco. Moroccan officials inaugurated the first village in Morocco and Africa to be fully powered by solar power  on October 12. The village “Id Mjahdi” is located near , around 190km to the west of. The Moroccan ministry of energy, and Essaouira’s local authorities worked with the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy , Moroccan NGO Cluster Solaire, and French businesses Intermarche and Le Petit Olivier, among other partners to complete the pilot project. Sophie Primas, president of the economic commission at the French senate attended the inauguration event, along with officials from Morocco’s , local authorities of Essaouira, and representatives from the project’s partners. The village is completely autonomous energy-wise and is not connected to the power grid of the National Office for Electricity (ONE). All of the village’s power comes from 32 photovoltaic solar panels, generating 8.32Kwh of electricity. The power station powers around 20 homes, the village houses more than 50 people. The solar power station also powers water heaters and ovens inside the houses, as well as the street lights. The electricity network has a battery, storing electricity for use outside daylight hours. The town facilities include a public , a water tower, an  workshop providing jobs for the local population, and an educational center. The educational center is equipped with two classrooms, a sports field, and a playground. It will provide education for children aged between four and six, as well as basic literacy for adults in the village.Fatima-Zahra El Khalifa, general director of Cluster Solaire, a partner organization of the project, said during the inauguration ceremony that “women of the village expressed their feelings towards the project in touching words: we went from darkness to light because of solar energy.” Morocco’s former minister of education and member of the Essaouira-Mogador Association, , said that “projects like these reduce social disparities, and introduce comfort and modernity to small villages.”He added that this project is a pilot and could be replicated in various regions of Morocco, as part of the Kingdom’s aims to invest more in sustainable development and renewable energy.

Solar power for african farmers

Shipping on sunshine: Solar power for African farmers​

SCITECHEUROPA  Farmers in Africa and Asia could sell more of their crops by transporting it in solar powered cooling vans, preserving the food before it is sold and cutting food waste. One third of the world’s food, 1.3bn tonnes, gets thrown away each year. In warmer countries, where the food is subject to the scorching days and chilly nights, the inability to access electricity for refrigeration leads to 50-70% of the food grown going to waste. Once British fruit and vegetables are harvested, they undergo a process of pre-cooling and then they are transported in cold vans to shops and wholesalers, this allows the food to stay fresher for longer. In less economically developed parts of the world, this sort of technology is non-existent. “We aim to make these technologies accessible to people in rural areas, with no or limited electricity,” said Professor Savvas Tassou, director of Brunel’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains. Professor Tassou and his team, are developing mini temperature-controlled fridges that can be pulled along by tractors or smaller trucks. These affordable refrigeration units are powered by detachable photovoltaic (PV) . The panels fit together and fold out like wings from the vehicle’s sides and roof. In order to allow low-income farmers to afford such a van, researchers are aiming to create business plans so that the units can be assembled locally and hire them out at a farmer-friendly cost, giving communities without electricity access to cheap renewable electrical power. This invention also allows farmers to keep their food fresh, with less waste. “For us, the priority is more income for farmers,” added Professor Tassou. “This also helps create more employment for women, because they do most of the farming. The project will contribute to equal opportunities and gender equality and increase incomes to enable women to afford to provide better nutrition, health and education for their children.”

Economic Survey: Charting road map for faster growth

South Africa plans to allocate at least 6 GW of large scale solar by 2030​

PV Times  That would take the country to 8.28 GW of generation capacity by the end of the next decade with the government stating up to 6 GW of small scale capacity could be required on top. By that stage, however, coal would still amount to 43% of generation capacity and gas and diesel a combined 8.1%, under the new Integrated Resource Plan. ’s Department of Energy (DoE) has released a new ten-year energy strategy: the .The government has made clear solar, wind and gas projects will supply most of the nation’s future  although contracted coal power plants will be developed and a further 1.5 GW of new coal generation capacity is expected by 2030. The DoE envisages 114 MW of already-awarded solar capacity will come online next year with a further 300 MW of projects with signed power purchase agreements due to be added in 2021. Another 400 MW of contracted solar capacity is expected to be commissioned in 2022 and the DoE expects another gigawatt of newly-procured capacity in three years’ time. The department is planning to allocate a gigawatt of solar per year in 2023, 2025 and 2028-30, with no new solar anticipated in 2024, 2026 or 2027. If those expectations are realized, South Africa would have 8.28 GW of utility-scale solar capacity in 2030, with PV supplying just 10.5% of its power mix. Wind power capacity is expected to grow from around 1.98 GW today to 17.7 GW by the end of the decade, to make up 22.5% of the energy mix according to the Integrated Resource Plan. Coal lingers  of South Africa’s generation capacity in 2030 under the strategy, with around 33.36 GW of installed plant capacity, of which 750 MW would be procured in 2023 and the same amount in 2027. “Beyond [the] Medupi and Kusile [thermal power stations], coal will continue to play a significant role in electricity generation in South Africa in the foreseeable future as it is the largest base of the installed generation capacity and it makes up the largest share of energy generated,” stated the strategy document. The Medupi and Kusile plants are  and low reliability due to “design flaws” that are compounding generation capacity shortfalls. The DoE said around 11 GW of operational coal capacity will be decommissioned over the next decade and a further 24 GW will be shuttered in 2030-50. However, fossil fuel-based gas and diesel generation capacity is forecast to grow from around 3.83 GW to 6.38 GW in 2030, raising their share of the national power mix to 8.1%. The strategy also provides for around 6 GW of new  – termed ‘embedded generation’ in South Africa – up to 2030, without offering further specifics. “As we plan for the next decade, this technological uncertainty is expected to continue and this calls for caution as we make assumptions and [commitments] for the future in a rapidly changing environment,” the South African government stated in the document. Still diversifying The new plan still places renewables and storage as an opportunity to diversify South Africa’s energy mix rather than as the , as is happening elsewhere around the world.The  welcomed the Integrated Resource Plan, which was published on Friday. The association said the publication of solar ambitions provided developers with a measure of certainty, even if the proposed future energy mix does not appear to have been based on least-cost assumptions.“We will continue to engage the minister of DMRE [the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy] to find mechanisms to smooth out the gaps presented in 2024, 2026 and 2027, where no solar PV is envisaged to be added to the grid,” the trade body said in a press release.The association said it noted the strategy is a document which can be amended to reflect changing scenarios and called for the government to bring forward more clean energy auction capacity under the  of the national . Small scale solar too, could benefit from the predicted need for more energy sources, added the lobby group, noting the original call for 2 GW of small scale project capacity up to 2030 had been raised to 6 GW in the final strategy document.“The allocation to embedded generation – based [on] short term capacity and energy gaps – are great portents for the sector’s future,” said the solar body.

Comment: Renewable energy is the key to combating African climate change

Renewable energy is the key to combating African climate change​

MOROCCO WORLD NEWS  Global warming has hit Africa with detrimental threats that impact the crucial needs of the people. Already tough conditions become even tougher with the most consequential factors - agriculture, water availability and over all livelihood. Africa is one of the countries worst affected by this crisis and something needs to be done, argues Zandre Campos.  Agriculture is a significant process that Africa depends on to prosper for various reasons. Not only does the industry help to eliminate hunger and food insecurity, it also employs majority of the countries' workforce. Unfortunately, agricultural productivity in Africa is far less developed than the rest of the world. Due to climate change, rainfall will continue to reduce and temperatures will continue to increase, resulting in poor farm and land management. Agriculture forms a significant portion of the African economy and with it being impaired, it has the potential to drag Africa deeper into poverty. The fact that the water quality and supply is dangerously low in Africa has a lot to do with the climate crisis also. This precious commodity is used for everything from hydrating, supporting livestock and fish farms, to producing crops and cooking. Sadly, this natural resource is being damaged by floods and droughts, melting of glaciers and the shrinking of bodies of water due to climate change. Floods and droughts There was already poor access to accessible drinking water before these catastrophic events started to occur. Even when water is available, there are risks of contamination because of various issues. For starters, wells and water sanitation facilities are not properly maintained because of limited financial resources. Also, water quality testing is not done regularly. This is necessary because surface water is severely polluted and can cause extreme illness. All of these variants are decreasing the livelihood of the African people. For starters, the intense flooding and droughts are not only affecting the water supply, it impacts the shelter of the people as well. As you can imagine, it leads to the destruction of many homes and villages. Health scares are increasing because of the climate sensitive diseases and the minimal resources to prevent and treat sickness. The good news is there is a key to fighting climate change - renewable energy. Energy sources such as: fossil fuels, oil and natural gas, have a negative effect on the environment. However, renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydropower can be used instead to prevent harmful damages to the environment.Wind energy is a free and available renewable energy source that can be utilized in Africa in many different ways. This energy is generated by the motion of wind turbines that capture the wind's kinetic energy and convert it to electricity. There are three main types of wind power that have differences from each other.First is utility-scale wind. This type of wind power is produced by massive turbines. They are developed to supply large amounts of energy to power grids and are managed and distributed accordingly. The second type of wind energy is distributed wind. This type of wind is created by small turbines that often supply power directly to a home, farm or small business. Lastly, there is offshore wind. These are wind turbines constructed in bodies of water that operate global, but have yet to reach the shore. Overall, offshore wind energy blows stronger and more consistently than the other two types. Solar energy is another great dependable energy source. Solar energy can be harnessed and usable with the aid of three main technologies: photovoltaic, concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar thermal to turn sunlight into heat or electricity. The first technique, photovoltaics is generated by sunlight and produces electricity without moving parts. You will mostly see it on the rooftops of homes and businesses. Concentrated solar power uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Solar thermal technologies catch heat energy from the sun and use it for the creation of electricity and heating. Another great renewable energy source is hydropower. It is one of the oldest power sources in the world. It is described as energy derived from the movement of large amounts of water. It uses turbines to help generate electricity using the energy of falling or flowing water to turn the blades. The more we use these energy sources, the better chance Africa will have in the fight against climate change. They are reliable, affordable and will create more jobs. It is the most vital tool Africa has in this battle against global warming. Zandre Campos is chairman and CEO of ABO Capital.

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The house with solar roof Senegal

By Brian Spaen

 

 

 

Back in 2013, the United States government began the initiative of improving Africa’s energy infrastructure. $14 billion later, “” has helped develop 90 projects with over 75 percent of them being renewable sources. The best way to power rural areas in Africa is through smaller, off-grid solutions, and that portfolio is continuing to expand.

 

Power Africa is led by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and they’ve helped bring energy access to 50 million residents that didn’t have prior access. Things haven’t gone all to plan, especially in Nigeria where they had trouble with energy transmission and distribution. Kenya has also suffered in recent years, and about of customers aren’t paying for power.

 

image by: pixabay

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