Sector News – April 2017


How to Evaluate Solar-Powered Humanitarian Supplies, the Level Market

Energy is one aspect of our quality of life that doesn’t get enough attention. It’s something that so many of us are fortunate enough to have 100% of the time, which means we often take it for granted. During a disaster, and in rural parts of the world where a crisis is ongoing, energy isn’t something that’s a guarantee. And that’s exactly why solar power is such an essential part of humanitarian aid.

Women, Energy, and Economic Empowerment: Applying a Gender Lens to Amplify the Impact of Energy Access, Energy Today

With a “gender lens” approach to energy access programs, the millions of dollars flowing to energy access initiatives around the globe can have a greater impact on women’s empowerment.

This device pulls drinking water straight out of the air — and it runs entirely on the sun’s energy, the Washington Post

A new kind of water-capturing device could be a game-changer for some of the world’s driest places. It can pull water vapor out of the air at humidity as low as 20 percent — conditions that may be seen in the Sahara desert during its hottest months — and it can operate entirely off-grid, just using the ambient power of the sun.

Private sector power for refugee camps could light up rural communities – experts, Reuters Africa

Attracting private sector investment to provide clean energy in refugee camps would not only end their reliance on dangerous fuels and create job opportunities, but could also help local communities get on the grid, energy experts said.


Improving Off-Grid Solar Power Appeal in Rural Africa, SunConnect News

Africa’s low levels of energy access provide a good opportunity for power solution providers and solar power is now proving to be a one of the most convenient and affordable sources. However, bringing this self-evident opportunity to consumers will require the use and deployment of very creative commercial models.

Countries With The Lowest Access To Electricity, World Atlas

For many in sub-Saharan Africa, having a simple power outlet within their homes would be a dream come true.

Meet the journalists reporting on energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, Discourse Media

In 2016, Discourse Media launched Power Struggle, a collaborative journalism project that asks how energy poverty impacts communities around the world. In the first year of the project, Discourse Media worked with nine international reporting fellows to investigate potential solutions to energy access issues — from Cameroon to island nations such as Kiribati to northern Canada and beyond.

African Governments Urged to Invest More in Energy Sector to Enhance Access, All Africa

African states and stakeholders have been urged to invest more in the power sector and close the continent’s energy deficit.

African Development Bank approves USD 2.3 million to help advance Uganda’s decentralized renewables development program, AfDB

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a project preparation grant of USD 2.3 million to kick-start future investments in decentralized power systems in rural and urban areas in Uganda. The grant was provided by the Scaling–Up Renewable Energy Programme of the Climate Investment Funds managed by the AfDB’s Department of Climate Change and Green Growth.

Norway funds Zambia’s solar energy supply in health facilities, News Ghana

Norwegian partners has given Zambia 700,000 U.S. dollars for provision of solar energy to the African country’s clinics and hospitals, a top United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) official said.

EU donates solar-powered freezers to communities in Kwara, Nigerian Tribune

The European Union has donated 44 units of solar direct drive freezers to rural communities in seven local government areas of Kwara State for immunization and public health activities.

Nigeria: Federal Government to power 9 universities with solar energy, Cleantech Naija

The Federal Government on Thursday stated that it would power nine tertiary institutions with solar energy in line with the Nigeria’s nationally intended contributions to the reduction of carbon emissions in line with global best practices.

Kenya: Micro-grids powered by the sun boost fortunes of Lake Victoria fishermen , Standard Media

Mary Atieno was often forced to sell her tilapia well below the market rate because she had to get rid of the fish quickly in the searing heat bearing down on her village on the shore of Lake Victoria. Lack of electricity meant Atieno was at the mercy of commercial fish buyers and made little or no profit because she could not refrigerate her catch of tilapia and Nile perch.

Solar Water Pumps to Help Alleviate Drought in Kenya, Alternative Energy Africa

The Solar Energy Foundation is trying to alleviate drought catastrophes and their consequences, dropping or low crops, in East Africa through the use of solar water pumps for irrigation.

Sierra Leone: UNOPS, Ministry of Energy commission £34.5m DFID funded solar energy installation, Concord Times

With funds from the Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Ministry of Energy (MOE) have commissioned solar energy installation at Community Health Centres (CHCs) in two districts in the northern region of Sierra Leone.

Zambia: Rural Electrification Authority to install solar power for 28 schools and in 96 staff houses, Lusaka Times

Rural Electrification Authority (REA) Corporate Affairs Manager Justine Mukosa has said its ongoing Sustainable Solar Marketing package Programme (SSMP) is likely to be completed by July this year.

USTDA awards grant for solar in Burkina Faso, PV Magazine

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has awarded a grant to Société de Production d’Energie Solaire de Kodéni SAS, a Burkina Faso based solar industry association. The grant will fund feasibility studies for two 17 MW PV plants to be located in the southwest of the country.

President Mutharika launches program for electricity supplies in rural Malawi, Nyasa Times

President Peter Mutharika has emphasised the need for every Malawian in the country to have access to electricity, saying his government will ensure to provide energy to schools, clinics and homes in the rural areas where the power supply is scarce.

Eastern Cape Rural Hydropower Scheme A Clean Energy Success Story, Engineering News

It’s going to be a bright 2017 for the 39 households of the KwaMadiba settlement in the rural Eastern Cape 110 years after municipal electricity was first supplied to the provincial capital of Port Elizabeth.


European Investment Bank providing €200 million for Indian large-scale solar, PV Tech

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to supply State Bank of India with a €200 million (US$214 million) 20-year loan to support utility-scale solar PV projects in India.

Why it’s time to end the myth of the “energy poor”, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Electricity is not an unaffordable luxury for rural people – many are willing to pay.

Soak up the Sun: How India Is Steering Towards an Ambitious Solar Revolution, Slowly but Surely, the Better India

Even though the solar story in India is replete with a multitude of highs and lows, its progress in certain aspects is encouraging and its overall growth is inevitable.

Solar micro grid project launched in Odisha, Business Standard

Industrial Energy Limited (IEL), a joint venture of Tata Power and Tata Steel, today inaugurated a solar micro grid project at Baliapal village in Kalinganagar in Odisha.

Solar hope for Manpura, the Daily Star

The government plans to turn Manpura into a green island by installing solar power systems as part of its scheme to light up remote and off-grid areas through renewable energy and ensure electricity to every house by 2021.

Engie partnerships to invest US$1.25 billion in Indonesian renewables, agreements in Singapore, PV Tech

French power giant Engie Group is partnering with three firms to develop various solar-related projects in Indonesia requiring US$1.25 billion investment.

Indonesia to Install Solar Panels in 2,500 Villages in 2019-2020, Tempo.Co

Energy and Human Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said the government will install solar panels in 2,500 villages in Indonesian remote areas.

Forum Capital-backed SolarHome to invest $25m in Myanmar over five years, Deal Street Asia  

Southeast Asia-focused SolarHome, a provider of solar energy for rural off-grid households, is looking at investing up to $25 million in Myanmar over the next five years, Phoo Pyae Pyae Soe, head of communications, said.

Thailand Introduces World’s First Solar Powered Hydrogen Houses, Hwaairfan

A new and creative housing development has just topped the scale of sustainable living as the world’s first for energy storage of its size. The off-grid housing development is located in Chiang Mai, Thailand and is a huge progression in the journey towards greener living. Phi Suea House, developed by CNX Construction and owned by Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, is powered entirely using a solar-hydrogen system. The development is 100% self-sustaining, and provides 24-hour, year-round access to clean energy, even during periods of bad weather, through the solar-powered hydrogen storage system. It is comprised of buildings which include a workshop and guesthouses, although only five of the buildings, a large fishpond waterfall and a 400-square-metre swimming pool with a well pump, require any electricity.

Middle East

A solar Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post

On the solar farms of the Atacama Desert, the workers dress like astronauts. They wear bodysuits and wraparound sunglasses, with thick canvas headscarves to shield them from the radiation.

 Lebanon: Small solar power projects replacing costly generators, the Daily Star

Inside the courtyard of the Mawasem El Dayaa Cooperative, overlooking the small village of Deir Qanoun-Ras al-Ain in southern Lebanon, there was a palpable sense of excitement about the solar panels that had recently been installed on the roof.

Saudi Arabia shortlists 27 companies for 300MW solar tender, PV Tech

The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, announced that it has tabbed a number of companies for the first round of the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).

Latin America / the Caribbean

Latin America’s bright future for off-grid solutions, Solar Plaza

With around five percent of the region still without electricity, Latin America offers ample opportunities for solar solutions for off-grid households.

Enel breaks ground on 754MW solar plant in Mexico, PV Tech

Enel Green Power México (EGPM), a subsidiary of Italian power giant Enel, has broken ground on the largest solar PV plant under construction in Latin America standing at 754MW in North Mexico.

North America

Tesla’s Kauai solar storage facility offers a glimpse of the company’s future, Tech Crunch

Tesla’s solar installation on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is not just a product launch of the company – it’s the first real proof the company’s offering that its acquisition of SolarCity is not only smart, but necessary. 

First Solar commissions 250MW Moapa project, PV Tech

Leading CdTe thin-film producer First Solar has brought online the first ever utility-scale solar project on tribal land in the US, the 250MW Moapa project, located just 30 miles north of Las Vegas

Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Act will drive 1,250MW of solar by 2020, PV Tech

Maryland achieved a clean energy victory when the legislature voted to override governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act in a 32-13 vote.


Eigg Electric finds renewable energy success on tiny Scottish island, Renewable Energy Magazine

Eigg Electric, on the tiny Scottish island of Eigg, is providing residents with power from three renewable energy sources; three hydroelectric generators; four 6kW wind turbines; and a 50kW Photovoltaic array. The system is entirely stand-alone. It receives no input from the mainland.


Pay-As-You-Go’ Power to Energize Rural Papua New Guinea, Scoop World

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced the launch of a pilot Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) project with Origin Energy PNG Ltd, to support renewable energy use in off-grid communities in Papua New Guinea, helping make clean distributed energy affordable and accessible. 

Fiji: Solar Power brings new opportunities for sugarcane families, Solomon Star

Four hundred remote rural households in Fiji’s sugarcane belt areas will have electricity by the middle of this year, thanks to a European Union funded, Micro Projects Programme (MPP) for clean, green solar power, implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).

Wastewater treatment plants are going off the electricity grid to help battle climate change, Border Mail

North East Water managing director Craig Heiner said the provision of water and sanitary services at Yackandandah were very “energy-intensive”. Solar panels are being planned for wastewater treatment plants at West Wodonga and Yackandandah after North East Water admitted its emissions were part of the global problem of climate change.