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Sector News – April 2016 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

News

Sector News – April 2016

Global

Renewable energy growth in developing countries is led by China and India, The Times of India

In 2015, for the first time, investments in renewable energy in developing and emerging economy nations ($156 billion, up 19 per cent compared to 2014) surpassed those in developed countries ($130 billion, down 8 per cent from 2014). Much of these record-breaking developing world investments took place in China (up 17 per cent to $102.9 billion, or 36 per cent of the world total).


The Missing Link in Global Development: Energy Access Opportunity Costs, Huffington Post

The World Bank Group spring meetings have gathered some of the planet’s most influential people and institutions in Washington, D.C., to address the biggest development issues. Despite the powerful commitments from some of these agencies and entities, little progress has been made in the fight to end energy poverty. While there are numerous explanations, there a critical decelerator when it comes to ending energy poverty and the multilateral development banks (MDBs): the missing energy access opportunity cost assessment.


Solar energy jobs double in 5 years, CNN Money

The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has more than doubled in five years. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields. The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C. The group is not funded by solar companies.


Solar-Powered Sterile Box Offers Safer Surgeries For Patients In Developing Countries, Tech Times

Patients in low-resource areas often suffer from surgical-site infections. Incidence for such infections is about nine times higher in developing countries than in developed countries. A solar-powered sterilization facility to sterilize medical tools for reuse is known as the Sterile Box; the low-power mobile facility is built into a 20-foot steel shipping container that houses all the needed equipment to prepare surgical instruments so they can be safely reused. The facility can be set up anywhere.


NORMA Group Supports Inventors of Solar-Powered Sterilization Device, Norma Group

NORMA Group, a global market leader in engineered joining technology, will be providing NORMAPLAST hose connectors and screw-in connectors for the prototype of a solar-powered sterilization device for use in developing countries.


Panasonic Has Now Donated More Than 50,000 Solar Lanterns under Its “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project”, Solar Energy Industry Today

The cumulative number of donated solar lanterns under the “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project” implemented by Panasonic Corporation exceeded 50,000 on March 10, 2016, topping 50% of its numerical target.


Off-grid education gives regions without internet access to content and learning tools, South China Morning Post

Arguably more important than high-speed education is low-bandwidth learning applications for remote places. Improving access to education in the off-grid world is a problem being addressed by New York-based charity Outernet, which aims to become “humanity’s public library” by providing free, unrestricted and uncensored web access for the entire planet.


It’s Time to Change Our Definition of ‘Real’ Energy in Developing Countries, Greentech Media

In recent months, GTM has played host to a debate about what delivering “real” energy means in developing countries. I have long argued for the rapid scale-up of off-grid, pay-as-you-go solar as a faster way to deliver energy and financial services to those without access to the grid or traditional banking.


Three reasons financial technology works for green SMEs, International Trade Forum

For years, technology has been adopted by large organizations to streamline operations with little innovation. Advances in technology and data management capabilities now provide an opportunity to disrupt traditional financing, create new value in the green economy, at large scale and with reduced transaction costs. Fintech – short for financial technology – has become the new buzzword, and it has already seen tremendous success in crowd funding and market lending areas.


2 Ways Sustainable Energy Can Make Cities Safer for Women, IADB

In predominantly male sectors like energy and urban planning, women are mostly invisible players. Women, especially in developing countries, have little say over energy choices and the use of renewable energy because men are often the primary decision-makers. And yet women are still the primary household energy managers, and which means that energy poverty impacts them the most.


Africa

Off-Grid Power Solutions in Africa to Present a $3.1 Billion Market for Investors, the Good Men Project  

According to a report entitled ‘Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2016’ published last month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Lighting Global (a World Bank program), 1.2 billion people in Africa do not currently have access to a power grid. These people spend approximately $27 billion each year on lighting and mobile phone charging through the use of kerosene, candles and torches. This report predicts a bright future for off-grid power in Africa with sales of off grid solar power solutions presenting a $3.1 billion market for investors by 2020.


Why are 600 million Africans still without power?, CNN

Across 36 African countries, just 2 in 5 people have access to a reliable supply of energy throughout the day, according to a new study by research network Afrobarometer. Marred by insufficient capacity, poor reliability and high costs, the energy infrastructure in Africa is still problematic, with 25 nations in sub-Saharan Africa facing “a crisis,” according to The World Bank.


Women can power alternative energy solutions for Africa, the East African

Sub-Saharan Africa is changing rapidly. New infrastructure, economic development and urbanization are transforming society. Poverty is declining, and the middle class is growing.


Electrify Africa: Balancing Energy Access and Long-Term Sustainability, Triple Pundit

Access to reliable, affordable electricity is imperative for economic prosperity, public health and safety, and long-term growth and sustainability. Unfortunately, energy poverty remains a tremendous issue for many developing countries. More than two-thirds of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is still “off the grid” and very poor in energy supply. The entire generation capacity for all 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa totals just 28 gigawatts, compared to 1,068 gigawatts within the United States.


Solar Power Energizes Women Entrepreneurs in Mali, World Bank

In rural Mali, women entrepreneurs run small businesses powered by mini-grids. Electrified villages show more economic activity, which enables households and entrepreneurs to pay for the power they consume.


Solar Micro-grids Take Root in East Africa, RenewableEnergyWorld.Com

Solar micro-grids are playing an important role in ensuring that communities living in remote areas away from main power have access to electricity in East Africa in a region where nearly 80 percent of the population have no access to grid power.


Inauguration of Solar Powered Mini-Grid on Ukara Island, Sun Connect News

JUMEME Rural Power Supply Ltd. in Tanzania, together with its partners, celebrates this day the launch of its solar-powered mini-grid on the Lake Victoria island of Ukara. The occasion is attended by Ukerewe District Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Joseph Mkirikiti, European Union (EU) Delegation Head of Natural Resources, Mr. Gianluca Azzoni, Chairperson of the Bwisya Village Power Committee, Mr. Lazaro Kabunga, officials from the Local Government Authorities and partners.


Sierra Leone Poised to Transform Renewable Energy Sector With Strengthened Public and Private Sector Participation, All Africa

Sierra Leone has received a $300,000 grant from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) to prepare a far-reaching national Investment Plan (IP) to transform its renewable energy sector.


Coping with Lack of Skilled Solar Workers in Africa, Solar Novus

Despite a huge capacity and skills gap in Africa’s solar PV industry, countries in the region are fast-tracking deployment of the technology. In this way, they’re taking advantage of the high-quality solar resource to meet the increasing energy demand driven by the growing population, expanding per-capita income levels, and fast urbanization levels.


$30 Million Clean Energy Development Program Launched By INTASAVE, Clean Technica

The INTASAVE Energy program is deploying $30 million in developing low- and lower-income countries to install more clean energy and low-carbon energy infrastructure. Initially, it is focusing on such projects in Africa in the form of solar nano-grids. Each grid will be able to supply clean electricity to about 50 households, and the program is targeting 75,000 households. The program also works with outside investors, including individuals, and will provide secure returns, says INTASAVE.


Building a Digital Finance Ecosystem in Zimbabwe, CGAP

There’s a familiar story rolling out across Africa (and around the world): mobile money services launch, millions register for the service, but few become active users. Of those who are active, close to 90 percent of those transactions are airtime top-ups or person-to-person transfers, falling short of true financial inclusion. Coupled with declining voice revenues, mobile operators are increasingly looking toward a next generation of financial and non-financial services that leverage mobile money.


MTN launches solar package bundle in South Africa, ESI Africa

South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company MTN has partnered with a mobile solar technology company, World Panel, to enable a new bundle package allowing users to power their devices through the sun’s energy.


Electricity shortage and its impact on small businesses, Lusakatimes.com

The current energy deficit in Zambia has caused a lot of disturbances in the economy because energy plays a critical role in economic development. Currently, Zambia faces a critical energy shortage that has crippled both formal and informal businesses.


Renewable energy driving electricity supply independence in Namibia, The Southern Times

For too long Namibia has been benefitting from low electricity costs, unfortunately stifling growth in the energy sector and specifically in affordable and sustainable generation capacity. Vast distances with relatively light loads, coupled with below-average income households not able to support the necessary but expensive infrastructure have been contributing factors to this end.


Can PAYG kick-start Malawi’s solar revolution?, Solar Aid

Affordability is a huge issue in Malawi, posing our teams on the ground a unique challenge when it comes to helping people access lights. Almost all of our Malawian customers live below the poverty line, and the vast majority are subsistence farmers, struggling to survive during the lean months. Malawi’s wealth per person is less than any other country on the planet – a situation only exacerbated by the devastating impact of widespread flooding in January 2015, decimating the harvest so many depended upon.


Can ‘pay as you glow’ solve Malawi’s power crisis?, BBC News

Two months ago, Bill Gates reminded us of a stunning bit of information. The amount of electricity per person in sub-Saharan Africa is lower today (excluding South Africa) than it was 30 years ago. A rapidly rising population and the slow rate of connection means the “electricity deficit” continues to grow. Even having a connection is not a guarantee of power.


Solar-Powered Farming, Built in Kenya, How We Get To Next

Chris Muthoka is a farmer in Machakos County, about 43 miles [70 kilometers] southeast of Nairobi along Mombasa Road, the main highway between the country’s two largest cities. He grows capsicum—pepper plants—across four acres of land. An extremely water-intensive crop, keeping the plants hydrated used to be challenge in a country with erratic rainfall and frequent droughts.


Street vendors in Alexandria, Matrouh get solar-powered carts, Egypt Independent

The Alexandria governorate has contracted a local supplier for the purchase of 13 solar-powered carts to be used by street vendors, as the country shifts to alternative energy resources to offset chronic fuel shortages.


Could a Solar Giveaway in Kenya Destroy the Country’s Burgeoning Off-Grid Solar Market?, Green Tech Media

Kerry Adler speaks with the passion of an activist and the bluntness of a CEO. His mission: to light the world with cheap solar as quickly as possible. And he’ll do it any way he can – including giving away millions of free solar systems.


Doing Business in Africa: A Marriage of Social Investment and Strategy, South Africa The Good News

With 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24, Africa has the world’s youngest population. Each year between now and 2020, eleven million more are expected to enter the African labour market. On a continent that contains many of the world’s fast-growing world economies, there’s a palpable enthusiasm when you speak with many young people and social entrepreneurs.


Asia

UP first to come up with policy on solar power grids, the Times of India

Uttar Pradesh is all set to become the first state in the country to have formal statutory regulations for setting up solar powered mini-grids in remote villages not covered so far under the rural electrification scheme.


Light for Life: Nepal Solar Farming, HuffPost Impact

Energy is at the forefront of most economic, environmental and developmental issues the world faces today. In Nepal, roughly 80% of the population lives in rural mountainous regions that lack access to reliable electricity. Solar integration for agricultural purposes has been implemented with help from local organizations, including Practitioner Network member SunFarmer, throughout various parts of rural Nepal to aid in irrigation and agricultural needs all year round.


Lighting Lives: a rural solar power initiative by Henkel, Print Week India

Henkel, an adhesive major, has embarked on a rural solar power initiative as a part of a CSR initiative under the project ‘Lighting Lives’. The project is in line with the company’s global sustainability strategy for 2030, which aims to provide electricity to villages in Maharashtra by installing solar panels.


Number of women entrepreneurs in rural solar projects rising, The Siasat Daily

More and more women are taking up an active entrepreneurial role in solar power projects at the grass roots in India, says The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) director general Ajay Mathur.


Latin America & Caribbean

The Caribbean’s Largest Solar Array Goes Live, Alternative Energy Africa

Monte Plata, a 33.4 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar array located in the Dominican Republic was officially inaugurated today in the presence of the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina. The project is the largest in the Caribbean and was designed and deployed by Phanes Group, the international solar developer, asset manager and investment manager headquartered in Dubai together with its partners General Energy Solutions (GES) and Soventix. Monte Plata will deliver more than 50,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean energy to the country’s grid annually.


North America

NREL Raises Estimate For Rooftop Solar PV Technical Potential, Clean Technica

Analysts at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have used detailed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data for 128 cities nationwide, along with improved data analysis methods and simulation tools, to update its estimate of total U.S. technical potential for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The analysis reveals a technical potential of 1,118 gigawatts (GW) of capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours (TWh) of annual energy generation, equivalent to 39 percent of the nation’s electricity sales.


Solar and Wind Energy May Be Nice, But How Can We Store It?, NPR all tech considered

Renewable energy like solar and wind is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t blow when we need it to. This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery.


Europe

Solar Powered ‘Nests’ for the Homeless, Energy Matters

On any given night in the UK, thousands of people are sleeping rough. The ‘Nest’ is an off-grid, solar powered shelter designed to provide rough sleepers a place to lay their heads in safety and relative comfort.


Solabat : Solar + Battery Hybrid System, Energy Matters

The Solabat project gives new meaning to the term solar + storage – it aims to combine the two on a single device. Researchers at the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) say they are entering largely unknown scientific territory with the project.


Oceania

The 40 Australian towns that could, and should, quit the grid, Renew Economy

A new study has identified at least 40 Australian towns that could, and probably should, quit the main electricity grid, because they would be saving money for themselves and for other electricity consumers.


Thousands of Canberra homes to receive subsidized battery storage, One Step Off The Grid

Thousands of homes and businesses in the Australian Capital Territory will be equipped with battery storage in coming years in the largest subsidized roll-out of battery storage outside of Germany.