Sector News – February 2017



The emergent solar markets of 2016, Energiewende

Where in the world is solar going? During 2016, prices fell, capacity expanded, and the future of photovoltaics is looking bright. In this article, Tom Kenning takes a look at solar expansion in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Caterpillar Interview: Micro-Grid Challenges and Opportunities, Power for All

With the reduced cost of renewable technologies and rising innovation, micro-grids are a growing opportunity in emerging markets, one which is already reducing fuel consumption, lowering emissions and driving energy access. It is an opportunity that has not been missed by Caterpillar, whose hybrid micro-grid solutions are powering mines, raw material processing plants, agricultural farming and rural villages and islands—and which became one of eight investors in Powerhive’s $20 million Series A round last year.  Caterpillar also invested in battery maker Fluidic Energy to co-develop fully renewable micro-grids in emerging markets, and they are working closely with two island-states Indonesia and Madagascar.

Four developing countries receive funding for renewable energy projects, EE Publishers

Four renewable energy projects in developing countries in the Pacific and Africa have been identified by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to receive $44,5-million in funding.

Solar powered shelter wins design award, CNBC

An emergency shelter that uses solar power has won both the Architecture award and 2017 Grand Prize at the Beazley Designs of the Year awards.

Siemens, Eos partner to offer energy storage solutions, Clean Technology Business Review

Siemens and Eos Energy Storage have partnered to offer energy storage solutions for a range of grid-connected and off-grid markets.

Floating Solar Panels Market Size to Reach USD 2.70 Billion by 2025, PR Newswire

The global floating solar panels market is expected to reach USD 2.70 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The technology is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period owing to rising demand for reliable renewable power generation. Furthermore, the ability to mitigate land cost is expected to favor demand over the projected period.

Mobile solar-plus-storage device could be an entry-level gateway to clean energy, Tree Hugger

The SolPad Mobile device offers a scaled-up solar charging and battery solution for both home and off-grid applications.

The Blockchain Buzz, GSES

Over the past several months, there has been an increase in the amount of reference to Blockchain technology and what it can do for the renewable energy sector. A number of global companies have even started to trial blockchain based energy trading schemes and are doing so with impressive market momentum.


The $7 a month plan bringing solar energy to rural Africa, CNN

In sub-Saharan Africa, over 600 million people do not have access to electricity — that’s 68 percent of the population, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

IRENA/ADFD to lend USD 44.5 for renewables in developing countries, Renewables Now

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will award USD 44.5 million (EUR 42m) in funding to four renewable energy projects in developing countries in the Pacific and Africa.

Africa Clean-Power Push May Help EU Migrant Crisis, Conde Says, Bloomberg

A boom in African clean-power investment could help curb the influx of migrants into Europe blamed for the rise in populism and the U.K.’s decision to quit the European Union, said Guinean President Alpha Conde.

Energy efficiency and the future of African Energy, ESI Africa

A long-standing rule of thumb among energy efficiency professionals is that a $1 investment in energy efficiency delivers $3 in savings back to the economy. As the African continent sprints towards its future, what could its businesses, governments, communities and households do with a three-to-one return on investment in energy efficiency?

Africa’s New Generation of Innovators, Harvard Business Review

For years now, business leaders and investors from around the world have waited for the Africa Rising narrative to shift from promise to reality. The continent has understandably been the focus of increasing investment and attention since the turn of this century. With a young, urbanizing population; abundant natural resources; and a growing middle class, Africa seems to have all the ingredients necessary for breakaway growth—perhaps even outstripping the so-called tiger economies of East Asia a generation ago. Indeed, a 2010 report by the McKinsey Global Institute titled “Lions on the Move” expressly made this comparison, forecasting that consumer spending on the continent would grow by 40%, and GDP by $1 trillion, from 2008 to 2020.

Kenya prepares to expand solar mini-grids into poorest rural areas, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Kenya plans to launch a $150 million project this year to bring solar electricity to markets, schools, shops and homes in poor, off-grid areas without existing power access, officials say.

Home-grown Kenyan solar farm powers computers – and protects girls, Thomson Reuters Foundation

When the first few residents of this village in the Ngong hills installed solar panels, nearly a decade ago, the only aim was to power their own homes, as their town had no connection to the national power grid.

TV from the sun: ‘Now I am connected to the whole world’, BBC

Stanley Gikonyo says his life has been transformed by satellite TV. “I am connected to the whole world,” he says. But what’s extraordinary is that his house, where he lives with his wife and two children in Mwea, central Kenya, has no access to mains electricity.

Tanzania: rural energy access projects gain traction, ESI Africa

With nearly 30 million of Tanzania’s rural population without access to electricity, infrastructure investment is crucial to the country’s development.

Tanzania lays out big investments in power generation, Oxford Business Group

In a bid to satisfy growing demand for power, Tanzania has ramped up investment in alternative energy schemes, with a focus on smoothing regional disparities.

Sierra Leone: 37 Million to support Rural Energy Project, Awoko

With support from the Department for International Development (DFID), UNOPS together with the Ministry of Energy will implement, Rural Renewable Energy Project over the next four years. The announcement was made at the Sierra Lighthouse in Aberdeen on the 17th of January.

Energy: Mini-grid electrification in Sierra Leone, ICED Facility

ICED developed a business case for mini-grid electrification in remote communities in Sierra Leone using innovative private-sector business models.

Sierra Leone: Electricity is Everybody’s Business, The Worldfolio

Interview with Mr. Henry O. Macauley, Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone.

Living in Darkness, but Holding On to Hope in Liberia, the New York Times

For the first time in 26 years, the electricity came on in Hayes Lewis’s modest house in this cluttered Monrovia suburb.

Uganda: Government to Extend Renewable Energy Countrywide, All Africa

Government is tapping into renewable energy resources to be able to extend power to off the grid areas in Uganda.

Ghana: Energy Minister designate to push for lower power tariffs, Graphic Online

The Minister designate for Energy, Mr Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko, has given an assurance that he will push for a reduction in electricity tariffs if given the nod by Parliament.

Zambia to see €65 million EU grant to boost energy access in Lusaka, Africa Times

The European Union has signed a €65 million grant to support the expansion of electricity access to some 300,000 people in Zambia.

Zambia Tries New Way to Beat Drought: Solar Grain Mills, VOA

For Inonge Imutowana, buying food for her family of six is becoming increasingly costly. On the outskirts of the capital, a 25-kilo bag of staple mealie meal that cost 65 kwacha a year ago now is selling for 140 kwacha ($14).

A clean energy crisis: One Burkina Faso social business aims to address it, Smart Villages

“It’s a crisis, but we are in a country with so many other priorities that people don’t talk about it, which is why we are doing something about promoting clean and affordable energy solutions”.

Enel brings 165MW of new South African PV online, PV Tech

Enel Green Power has brought online two new utility-scale PV plants in South Africa, at 82.5MW each. Together the plants are capable of generating more than 300GWh per year.

What’s Holding Back Pay-As-You-Go Market In African Off-Grid Solar?, AFK Insider

While the world electrification rate is roughly 84 percent, only 19 percent of the sub-Sahara Africa population is connected.


Why developing nations are the unlikely leaders of green finance, Eco-Business

Developing nations are driving innovation in green finance. But they need to build strong cross-sector partnerships to make it work, experts concluded at a recent event in Singapore.

Solar companies set to change the manufacturing landscape in 2017, PV Tech

In the past few days, we have featured some of the key trends in the solar industry during 2016, including the changing face of c-Si cell spending and the strong capex into new facilities in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. The technology split of solar cells produced in 2016 was also reviewed, showing the resilience of p-type multi and the factors that have been holding back further market-share gains for p-type mono.

Indian solar tariffs on cusp of smashing record lows, PV Tech

The first round of bidding for the 750MW Rewa solar park in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has guaranteed that tariffs will break the record lows for Indian solar by a significant distance.

Rural electrification in India needs an upgrade, the India Economist

A uniform supply of electricity is required to facilitate the development of rural India. A recent study dives deep into investigating the state of rural electrification.

TPDDL sets up solar microgrid project in Bihar village, India News

In a step towards expanding rural electrification, Tata Power Delhi implemented a solar microgrid project at a village in Vaishali district of Bihar.

Panasonic Donates 3,900 Solar Lanterns to 14 Humanitarian Organizations, Asia Today

As part of its global “100 Thousand Solar Lanterns Project”, Panasonic Corporation donated 3,900 solar lanterns to 14 humanitarian and non-governmental organizations in the Philippines. Out of these 3,900 pieces, 1,500 were personal donations made by employees under the cafeteria plan. The latest donation drive has brought this initiative to its 4th year and with a total of 9,714 pieces of solar lanterns.

Grameen Shakti: One of The World’s Fastest Growing Renewable Energy Companies, Planet Earth Weekly

Founded in 1996 in Bangladesh, Grameen Shakti has installed over 5 million solar home systems and created over 100,000 clean energy jobs. Grameen Shakti was set up as a not-for-profit in 1996 to bring modern energy services to households, by providing both energy technology (solar-home-systems for electricity, improved stoves and biogas for cooking) and affordable finance, at a local level.

Off-Grid Microgrid in Maldives Performs 50% Better than Expected, Microgrid Knowledge

An off-grid microgrid in the Maldives is performing 50 percent better than developer Electro Power Systems (EPS) expected when it commissioned the project at a resort in October 2016.

Middle East

Jordan first developing country to install solar air conditioning, the Jordan Times

Jordan is the first developing country utilising solar energy for the cooling and heating of buildings, Minister of Environment Yaseen Khayyat said. Under a 4.3-million-euro programme funded by the German international cooperation agency (GIZ) to introduce thermal cooling technology to Jordan and the region, four sites in Jordan are now equipped with units that turn sunlight into electricity that powers cooling units.

Latin America / the Caribbean

How to Turn on the Lights in Haiti, IDB

“How to turn on the light in Haiti” (available in Spanish) tells the story of a successful rural electrification program in Haiti, a program that could be implemented in other rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean.

ADFD signs loan agreement for innovative hybrid solar and wind project in the Caribbean, Renewable Energy Magazine

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), has signed a $15 million concessionary loan agreement for the development of a hybrid solar and wind generation project in the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda.

Off-grid clinic uses renewable energy to support health services in Chile, Inhabitat

The quiet coastal enclave of Caleta El Sauce is as beautiful as it is remote, which means the sleepy fishing village only receives regular medical assistance every 30 days. To assist visiting doctors, SAA arquitectura + territorio designed a small health clinic for the community—a rather difficult task given the hard-to-reach location and absence of readily available potable water and electricity. Thus the building was equipped with solar panels and prefabricated offsite to reduce construction time to just seven days.

North America

Panasonic forms new company to produce solar cells and modules at SolarCity’s Buffalo fab, PV Tech

Major Japanese electronics company Panasonic has said it would establish a new entity as part of the agreement with Tesla to produce HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cells and modules at the Tesla/SolarCity/Silevo/Panasonic 1GW Buffalo fab in New York State.

DOE SunShot announces last-ditch US$30 million for solar integration projects, PV Tech

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot has announced a new US$30 million for solar integration projects, as the initiative is in hot water after president Trump indicated plans for its closure.

The Battle Continues For The Future Of Residential Solar, Solar Industry

No one can deny that 2016 was a turbulent year, least of all energy professionals. Last year marked the continuation of bitter regulatory tangles between utilities and environmental and clean energy groups.  At stake? The future of net energy metering (NEM), tax credits, and other incentives that proponents say are vital to the proliferation of solar energy. All over the U.S. – and particularly in the coal-heavy Midwest – utilities complained that NEM for solar customers represented an unsustainable pricing system. If residential solar installations keep growing the way they have for the past two years, some utilities argued, the power companies could no longer afford to keep extended subsidies and price relief for solar-powered households.

NRG Energy and HECO to bring 109MW of new solar online by 2019, PV Tech

Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) and Texas’ NRG Energy have signed new PPAs to bring online over 100MW of new solar in Oahu, with three utility-scale PV projects.

Maryland to introduce almost 200MW of community solar, PV Tech

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the final rules that will implement the state’s three-year community solar pilot programme.


Acciona and Tuto Energy to expand Mexico’s biggest solar plant, PV Tech

Spain’s Acciona and Tuto Energy have teamed up to build what will be Mexico’s largest solar plant, by signing a PPA to add an additional 112MWp to the existing 227MWp Puerto Libertad solar project.

Water, energy, and the internet – how a 15 ton “computer” provides access to all three, the Engineer

Watly, a renewable solar generator that purifies water and provides access to the internet, has a host of developing world applications.

Sun shines on solar power, Bangkok Post

A German guide called the site of one of the world’s biggest solar parks “Heathcliff” even though it does not have any relation to the lead character of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights.


Australia’s household solar-plus-storage market grew more than 1000% in 2016, Energy Storage

Solar storage batteries for households in Australia enjoyed a more than 1000% percent rise in the number of annual installations from 2015 to 2016, according to a new industry report.

‘Mini grid’ to be installed in Yackandandah as the next step for solar energy, the Border Mail

One of Australia’s first commercial solar “mini grids” will be constructed in Yackandandah, in the town’s latest move towards becoming reliant on renewable energy.