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Sector News – January 2017 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

News

Sector News – January 2017

SECTOR NEWS

Global

Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth, Bloomberg

Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

An Off-Grid Vision for 2025 With Solar, Storage, Efficiency, and Autonomous EVs, Microgrid Media

The year is 2025 and like most of your neighbors, your house is not connected to the electric grid.  During the summer, it is almost completely powered by the solar panels on your roof, which look like traditional roofing shingles but better.

Mini-Grids: Towards a Scalable Model, Medium

Mini-Grids powered by renewable energy or hybrids are increasingly recognized as having important potential to provide least-cost electricity supply to unserved settlements which are not viable for main grid connection, but densely enough packed to give Mini-Grids an advantage over a series of household solar systems. While such delivery is possible technically and innovation is moving globally, the roll out to date in developing countries has been slow. A key reason for this is that mini-grids are often considered in policy and practice as “similar to the main grid”. What this has meant in practice is that a series of grid policy frameworks and preconceptions, planning and interface issues have to some extent overlapped with the emerging mini-grids sector?—?with the net result of deterring of investment and slowing roll-out.

Key solar manufacturing location trends in 2016, PV Tech

As part of PV Tech’s ongoing analysis of global PV manufacturing capacity expansion announcements, an important aspect remains the ever evolving geographical footprint of the upstream market of dedicated solar cell, module assembly, thin film and c-Si integrated facilities.

The hope invested in rural microgrids deserves better returns, Energy Storage News

Microgrids — distributed systems of localized generation, distribution network and load — are being increasingly deployed particularly in rural areas of emerging and under-developed countries to achieve energy access. India has been a pioneer in rural microgrids since the 1990s, however there is significant progress to be made despite rapid advancements in technologies like solar PV, energy storage and affordable LED lighting solutions. India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) estimates that India has installed over 2,000 AC microgrids of over 5 kW by 2016 and over 10,000 DC microgrids with the majority sized at less than 1 kW.

Three Critical Uses of Data for Off-Grid Telecom Power, Flexenclosure Reflexions

Consumers in off-grid areas are rapidly increasing their use of mobile Internet services.  At the same time they not only expect service to become more reliable, but they also want network coverage to expand and prices for mobile data plans to decrease too.  This is a big ask for mobile operators struggling to achieve base station profitability when they have no access to a reliable power grid.  So what’s the solution?


Africa

Africa’s Energy Surge, Sustainable Energy for All

Today, there are 1.1 billion people worldwide who still have little or no access to electricity. Over half of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. And more than 80% of those living in that region still do not have access to clean cooking. But Africa is poised to become a huge part of the clean energy solution. Rachel Kyte – CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All – talks to CNN about the plan to close the energy access gap in Africa – and around the world – and how we can get it done well before 2030.

Five African inventions to look out for in 2017, BBC News

Here are five African inventions which may take off in 2017.

The electrification of Africa through renewable energy sources: bridging the gap, the Huffington Post

The provision of clean electricity is crucial to Africa’s continued economic growth and prosperity. Currently, though, there is a gap between the necessary electric utility infrastructure and the scale of our ambitions as a continent.

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

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.

Nigeria secures Norwegian solar investment, Global Trade Review

Norwegian solar power producer Scatec Solar has partnered with infrastructure fund Africa50 and Norway’s investment fund Norfund to develop a US$150mn solar plant in Nigeria.

Ghana will soon be energy self-sufficient – President Mahama, Pulse.Com.Gh

President Mahama has indicated that Ghana will soon be a self-sufficient energy country.

Solar powered pond pump to enhance fish farming in Kenya, Coastweek.com

Fisheries sector in Kenya is attracting more accommodating innovations as the government seeks to tackle over-dependence on lakes and ocean waters. One of them is the solar powered pond pump.

Farm Africa, an international organization working with rural Africa, is popularizing this new way of rearing fish in Kenya, promoting the government’s effort to reducing poverty through inland fish farming.

How Solar-Plus-Storage Is Saving People From Snake Bites, Green Tech Media

An off-grid solar-plus-storage setup is helping prevent villagers in a remote part of Myanmar from suffering one of the most painful deaths imaginable.

Zimbabwe Off-Grid Solar Start-up Lands Kiva Direct to Social Enterprise Loan, Microgrid Media

Off-grid solar start-ups are cropping up across sub-Saharan Africa, conveying the advantages and benefits of reliable, affordable, safe and environmentally friendly electrical power to local communities at an unprecedented rate.

ENGIE signs an agreement for the development of Renewable Energies in Senegal, APO

ENGIE announces the signature of a partnership with ANER, the National Renewable Energies Agency in Senegal, to accelerate the development of renewable energies in the country.

Malawi installing affordable solar-powered lights at schools, CGTN Africa

Almost one third of Malawi is still in school, and the country takes education seriously with most children putting in the hours to get the grades. However, there are plenty of obstacles in the children’s education. One of the primary school caters to more three thousand children; meaning more than a hundred children are squeezed into every classroom and there’s no mains power supply either. 40 KMs from Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, and not one of the 18 schools in the region is connected to the grid.

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Model Brings Security to Small Kenyan Communities, Sun Connect News

Deep down in the small village of Tikoishi, in Kajiado county about 100 kilometers off Nairobi city, both men and women are leaving to tell stories of their sleepless nights and battles with the wild animals to protect their livestock.


Asia

Bangladesh Emerges as a Hotbed for Solar Microgrids, P2P Energy Trading, Microgrid Media

Bangladesh has been a pioneer when it comes to both micro finance and micro solar. Natural complements, their combination has led to a boom in what’s being called “swarm electrification” – development of local nanogrids and microgrids that allow solar homeowners to sell surplus electrical power directly to other microgrid participants via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

Bangladesh: Grid connectivity versus solar energy, The Financial Express

The grid and solar energy distribution system in the rural areas, as the updated  developments indicate, is in a disarray. The relevant statutory body — Rural Electrification Board (REB) — is currently riding an expansion-spree of its network by providing new connections to rural households. This is in clear conflict with the government’s plan for targeted growth of rural solar power generation. The immediate fallout is a drastic decline in the sale and installation of solar home systems (SHSs), a scenario that warrants multi-pronged problems – not just limited to policy-level anomalies.

Off-grid solar to help Myanmar bring electricity to all by 2030, Vuphong Asia

In a country where only 16% of rural homes have power a government-led scheme is bringing electricity to thousands of villages.

Minigrids can power rural economic activity, says Smart Power’s Mukherji, The Hindu

Mini grids can spur economic activity in rural areas and accelerate the process of expanding mobile phone network across the country due to their large capacities and the ability to connect to the national grid, according to Smart Power India.

156 households connected to solar grid in Pench buffer, The Times of India

Over 156 households have been connected to the solar mini-grid project in Ghatpendhri in the buffer zone of Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra. It is the first village in the buffer zone of any tiger reserve in the country to get a renewable energy project known as Kiran Prabha Solar Mini Grid, generating 2.4kV power.

India’s solar water pump market struggling to take off, Bridge to India

In 2014, India’s Modi government announced a target to install 1 million solar water pumps, equivalent to approximately 3,000 MW, for irrigation and drinking water by 2021. But actual cumulative installed base stood at merely 25,000 pumps as of April 2016. The bleak performance is despite the government offering massive subsidies of as much as 75-95% of upfront capital cost of the pumps.

A Way Through The Dark: Pakistan’s Clean Energy Development Opportunity, GE Reports

Blamed on years of mismanagement, an endemic energy crisis in Pakistan has crippled the economy and led to misery for millions. Can an improved power supply boost foreign direct investment there?


Middle East

Masdar: From industry catalyst to market leader, Gulf Today

As the 10th anniversary year of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, draws to a close, industry watchers can reflect on 12 months that have marked a historic milestone for the company and a pivotal moment for the renewable energy sector as a whole.


Latin America / the Caribbean

Mobile Pay-Go Solar Hits the Ground Running in Rural Nicaragua, Panama, Microgrid Media

Growing fast in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, mobile pay-go solar is beginning to take root in Central and South America. A self-described last-mile wholesale solar energy distributor, Solubrite is one of a small, but growing, number of solar-social enterprise startups providing clean, affordable solar energy products and services to rural families and businesses in Central America.

Freedom Solar Power, ABC Home & Commercial partner to bring electricity to Haitian orphanage, AltEnergyMag.Com

Freedom Solar Power and ABC Home & Commercial Services are teaming up to bring a 100 percent sustainable off-grid solar system to an orphanage in Haiti that currently does not have electricity.


North America

What Does The Trump Administration Mean For Power Africa?, Forbes

Power Africa, President Obama’s signature African electrification push, is in limbo. The initiative was launched in June 2013, but—consistent with the nature of large-scale long-term infrastructure investments—is really just getting started. Until we see key appointments (e.g., OPIC president, USAID administrator, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs) we probably won’t know what’s in store for Power Africa under a Trump administration.

Barack Obama: Clean energy is here to stay, Eco-Business

Barack Obama, outgoing president of the United States, has stepped directly into the climate debate. He believes that the US is on the way to a “clean energy” world and he delivers four reasons why he thinks the shift is now irreversible.

New Utility Program Helps Customers Go Off-Grid, Renewable Energy World

It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? If utilities are in the business of selling kilowatt-hours, then why would it make sense for them to help customers produce enough of their own kilowatt-hours that they don’t need to buy them from the utility anymore? Burlington, VT-based Green Mountain Power is testing a new program that it hopes will result in dollar and carbon-emission savings for both customers and itself. Its Off-Grid package includes an energy efficiency audit in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, a solar array, battery storage, home automation controls that allow customers to manage energy resources and usage, and a generator for backup that may be used for short periods of time if needed. In addition to producing their own clean energy, customers will have a flat monthly fee for their energy instead of the fluctuations they experience today.

The Life and Death Value of Energy Storage in Military Microgrids, Microgrid Knowledge

At military microgrids in hostile territory, reducing fuel use is more than a green effort; it’s a life-saving endeavor.

For rural Urbana farmer, solar power is cool, The News-Gazette

After installing solar panels at his Blue Moon organic farm, Jon Cherniss will be relying on the sun not only to grow his vegetables come summer, but cool them, too. The ground-mounted solar array that was installed in September is designed to provide up to 50 percent of the electricity used on his rural Urbana farm, powering lights, coolers that keep the veggies fresh, fans that circulate air in the greenhouses and more.


Europe

Tiger Power launches green plug-and-play generators, Tiger Power

The East-Flemish company Tiger Power (www.tigerpower.eu) has developed innovative technologies for the production and storage of green energy in remote areas without reliable electricity grid.  With these technologies, they offer a unique and sustainable alternative to polluting diesel generators, without sacrificing flexibility or affordability. Their Sunfold® and Storager® products have undergone extensive testing in recent months. Thanks to this successful Proof of Concept, Tiger Power is now ready for national and international markets.

French power group aims to double wind capacity, UPI

An arrangement with the leading insurance company in France helps with the goal of doubling wind power capacity in the country, French power group ENGIE said.


Oceania

RCR Tomlinson wins $155m solar farm contract, the West Australian

RCR Tomlinson has won a $155 million contract to build a solar farm at Townsville. The contract, with Korea Zinc Company subsidiary Sun Metals Corporation, involves engineering, procurement and construction of the utility-scale farm. The solar farm has been designed with a total capacity of 98.5MWac, with an option to expand to 116MWac currently under evaluation.