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Sector News – June 2017 | Energy Access Practitioner Network


Sector News – June 2017


60 million households use off-grid electricity, Gulf News Environment

Nearly 60 million households across the world are now powered by off-grid electricity generation sources, a top renewable energy expert said.

Balancing access to electricity data and privacy concerns, PV Magazine

Digital technology is deployed on the electric grid to make it “smarter,” allowing two-way communication and the transferring of data. This information enables customers to manage electricity costs, makes the grid more reliable, and provides third party providers with the information they need to produce innovative energy products and services. But while electricity data gathered by these technologies is beneficial, balancing the privacy of customers is necessary.

Microfinance and energy access, Down to Earth

Energy efficiency, combined with renewable energy, should be the ultimate goal of energy transformation for the world. The unique challenge of energy access is encouraging millions of energy-poor people to leapfrog from a scenario of no electricity and dirty fuel for cooking to a future with the most efficient appliances using electricity generated from renewable sources. Microfinance is the opportunity that helps in procuring cleaner, low-carbon options.

Solar fuels: materials breakthrough could open new chapter, Power-Technology.Com

An unprecedented number of solar fuels have been identified thanks to the combined efforts of researchers from Caltech and Berkeley Lab. Could the dream of creating clean fuel from just water, sunlight and CO2 soon become a commercial option?


Indo-African bilateral trade will touch $100 billion by 2018: AfDB, Live Mint

The bilateral trade between India and Africa is expected to reach $100 billion in two years, said African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina.

Tesla Powerpack And Solar Power Takes African Camp Off Grid, Inside EVs

Tesla is making its way into Africa. An experience-based luxury travel and global conservation company, &Beyond*, recently tapped Tesla in order to reduce their carbon footprint in Botswana. The company announced yesterday that their “Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp recently switched to solar power… reveal[ing] the camp’s newly installed, state-of-the-art off-grid electrical microgrid.”

IoT devices-as-a-service through Angaza’s SMS based installment payment plan, Network World

African telcos sell IoT solar panels that run as long as installment payments are made. Featuring EAPN member Angaza.

Tanzania: Training Centre to Boost Energy Access in Rural Areas, All Africa

In a bid to boost energy access in rural Tanzania, the government of the Republic of Korea, yesterday, revealed plans to open a training center for renewable energy technology in Arusha Region.

Inspiring Latent Entrepreneurialism in Young Professional Women: a new model for capacity building in the last mile, ACCESS Coalition

Liberia Munduru is a 27-year-old woman hailing from hailing from West Nile, a region of Uganda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. She received a degree in Social Development from Makerere University, a top University in East Africa. She was awarded a scholarship to study education at the National Teachers College. However, she wanted to return to her community and use her new skills to improve the situation for her people. She turned her scholarship down.

To achieve energy access in Kenya, electrification must go hand-in-hand with other energy interventions, Hivos

Over the past two years, the government of Kenya has set out on an ambitious plan with regards to electrification of both households and public institutions through grid extension, resulting in astronomical jumps in connectivity of both schools and households.

Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions for Arid and Semi-Arid Regions in Kenya, KDR TV

Installation of boreholes in Kenya is on the increase, especially with the recent drought that has affected the entire country.  Even with the onset of the rains, communities in the arid and semi-arid regions have been forced to invest in the rehabilitation of boreholes that are now solar powered for water pumping for villages, and particularly in Turkana and Wajir counties in Northern Kenya.

Kenya: Strategic advice helps solar irrigation company overcome barriers to market scale, Standard Digital

Only 25 percent of irrigable land is under irrigation in Kenya. Irrigation is key to improving agricultural production, thereby generating prosperity and employment in small farming communities.

Madagascar wants more off-grid solar for rural areas, preps to host first grid-connected PV plants, PV Magazine

Madagascar’s Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons is increasing efforts to implement its rural electrification plan for 2015-2020. Meanwhile, the government is also seeking developers for the island’s first MW-sized grid-connected PV projects.

Cameroon to install more off-grid and grid-connected solar capacity, PV Magazine

Bank of China has agreed to lend $123 million for the country’s solar rural electrification program, while its power utility is planning to build three PV plants with a combined capacity of 35 MW.

Rwanda: New REG boss says to prioritize off-grid energy, The New Times

With about seven months left to 2018, the new Rwanda Energy Group (REG) chief executive, Ron Weiss, is reviewing targets of generating about 563 megawatts by next year to determine feasibility.

Gambia seeks to assess how solar can be combined with its mini-grids, PV Magazine

Gambia’s National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has issued a tender to select companies to conduct feasibility studies to assess the country’s potential for solar and hybridized PV projects in mini-grids and close to existing power plants.

SEFA grants US$ 1 million to a 20MW Off-Grid Rooftop Solar project in Zimbabwe, AfDB

The African Development Bank (AfDB)-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a US$ 965,000 grant to Oxygen Energy Private Limited to support the preparation of a bankable business case for the development of a 20MW off-grid solar PV rooftop project on buildings owned and managed by Old Mutual Property Group Zimbabwe countrywide. The joint Oxygen and Old Mutual Zimbabwe project aims at compensating for the significant baseload lapses of the national grid and at providing reliable electricity to hundreds of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are already tenants at the Old Mutual premises. In doing so, the Project will substitute large quantities of diesel oil used as backup fuel.

Zambia: Kawama Basic School lighting cheers residents, Zambia Daily Mail Limited

It was a big day for the residents of Kawama township in Chililabombwe as they witnessed the lighting up of Kawama Basic School.


Reaching the last mile in the extremely energy poor Asia-Pacific, ENERGIA

At least 620 million people in the Asia-Pacific region lack access to electricity, and in South East Asia alone, more than 275 million people still rely on biomass for cooking. Especially in rural areas women bear the brunt of this energy poverty, which compounds the many challenges they face on a daily basis. Women’s engagement as energy entrepreneurs provides a key opportunity in the efforts to change that picture and to reach the goal of universal access to energy.

India Government to electrify all rural households by May 2018, the Indian Express

Piyush Goyal added that villages in the remote areas, especially near the borders, would receive off-grid

After making timely progress in village electrification, the government is planning to train its attention on providing electricity to individual households. It has now decided to complete the “100 per cent household electrification mission” by May 2018.

Indian power minister challenges Munich to 100% renewables race with world’s oldest city, PV Tech

India’s energy and mines minister Piyush Goyal has challenged Germany and the city of Munich to a race with the ancient holy city of Varanasi to become the first large metropolis in the world to be 100% powered by clean energy.

‘Utility in a box’ mini-grid set to launch in India, Decentralized Energy

India this month is to see the launch of a prototype mini-grid system being termed a ‘utility in a box’.

Kerala becomes the first state in India to provide electricity to every household, India Times

Kerala, known for its high social development, has become the first state to provide electricity to every household. Marking Left Democratic Front government’s first anniversary, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made the formal declaration at an event.

India: Solar pumps to provide water in power-hit areas, the New Indian Express

As many parts of Odisha are experiencing acute scarcity of drinking water and over 500 piped water supply projects lying defunct, the State Government on Saturday directed the collectors to install solar pump sets in areas where power supply is erratic.

India: Impact of Renewable Energy Mini-Grids on Rural Economies and Livelihoods, Rockefeller Foundation

About 237 million people in India, most of them in rural areas, live without reliable electricity. Without electricity, people’s livelihood options are limited, access to basic services is restricted, and quality of life is adversely affected.  There is a consensus that rural electrification has the potential to transform rural communities.

India: Grundfos launches ‘Smart Solarz’ for domestic use, United News of India

Grundfos Pumps India Private Limited, a leading manufacturer of energy efficient pumps, launched ‘Smart Solarz’, a solar pump for domestic use.

Rural India needs solar power for more than just lighting, study finds, Reuters

In the next five years, India plans to install 10,000 small-scale solar-power grids across the country to bring basic electrical power to communities without it.

Solar power to light up off-grid areas in India, EQ International

Taking forward his promise of rural electrification on May 26, Union Minister of Power Piyush Goyal said that the government of India is gearing up to distribute free solar-powered LED kits to people.

Solar energy empowers villagers and saves wildlife in Nepal, Penn Energy

This fall, rangers protecting rhinos, tigers and other endangered wildlife in Nepal’s famous Chitwan National Park will get a solar energy system that will light and power an isolated ranger outpost deep in the jungle. At the same time, local women will get the training and tools they need to sell low-cost clean energy technologies to people living in the buffer zone that surrounds the park. This is all part of continued collaboration in Nepal by Empowered by Light, which helps remote communities throughout the world develop renewable energy projects, and Empower Generation, which empowers women to become clean-energy entrepreneurs.

Can solar pumps give Nepal’s women farmers a brighter future?, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Giving women loans to buy solar panels for irrigation – and access to land – can help them build resilience to climate change.

Indonesia’s Hybrid Plant Model Operational by March 2018, Power Insider Magazine

A 1.2 MW hybrid plant is currently under development in a remote area of Indonesia aiming to provide 24-hours access to electricity for about 400 households in three villages. The project will be owned by the local community, offering a model for the development of solar PV in the country.

Pakistan: IFC may help rural power projects, the Express Tribune

With load-shedding in far off areas increasing to as much as 22 hours a day, the International Finance Corporation, a subsidiary of World Bank, has offered to back rural support programs (RSPs) in Pakistan under its US$300 million ‘Light Pakistan’ initiative which aims to provide electricity through unconventional means in areas not connected to the national grid.

Middle East

Doctors Bring Hospital Solar Plus Storage Systems to War-Torn Syria, Microgrid Knowledge

A medical organization founded by Syrian doctors worldwide has launched a campaign to bring hospital solar plus storage systems to Syria, where power outages are causing patient deaths.

Abu Dhabi breaks ground on world’s largest solar plant, PV Tech

Abu Dhabi has broken ground on what will be the world’s largest independent solar plant, the deputy chairman of the country’s Executive Council has said.

IBC Solar brings 5.9MW PV project online in Turkey, PV Tech

The Turkish subsidiary of IBC Solar has commissioned a large-scale 5.9MW PV system in the province of Gaziantep, Turkey.

Latin America / the Caribbean

Millions of Homes in Mexico Suffer from “Energy Poverty”, IPS

Energy poverty afflicts millions of homes in Mexico, with many social, economic and environmental impacts for the country. These homes, located in both urban and rural areas in this Latin American country of 122 million people, have difficulty satisfying their needs for energy for cooking, lighting, heating and entertainment.

Jamaica: 400 Manchester Farmers Benefiting from Irrigation System, Jamaica Information Systems

Four hundred vegetable farmers in the Duff House/New Forest area of Manchester are benefiting from improved access to irrigation for their farms.

 North America

New York public housing solar + storage microgrid project complete, PV Magazine

The project at the Marcus Garvey Apartments is the first deployment of lithium-ion batteries at a multifamily residential building in New York City.

Green Energy Fund Washington Advancing Microgrids, Microgrid Media

A total of $7 million in grants was given by the Washington State Department’s Clean Energy Fund, as state utilities look to develop their micro-grid programs.

U.S. may put emergency tariffs on solar imports, Reuters

The United States has notified the other 163 members of the World Trade Organization that it is considering putting emergency “safeguard” tariffs on imported solar cells, according to a WTO filing.

Sub 3¢ solar in Arizona marks US’ lowest price for PV to date, PV Tech

A new contract signed by Arizonan utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has set a new low price record for large-scale solar power in the country.

California Senate mandates for 100% renewable energy, PV Tech

California is mandated to receive all its power from renewable sources by 2045 under legislation that passed in the Senate yesterday. SB 100 outlines the most ambitious target for the Golden State yet, upping its current renewable portfolio standard of 50% by 2030. Under the bill, which staggers targets, California would now be required to reach 50% by 2026 and 60% by 2030.

IKEA’s new Jacksonville store to receive 1.89-MW solar system from REC Solar, Solar Power World

IKEA announced plans to install solar panels atop its future Jacksonville store opening Fall 2017. Panel installation will begin this summer, with completion expected in early fall for what will be the fifth IKEA solar array in Florida.


France, Uganda sign Shs 6.2 billion power generation deal, the Independent

The government of Uganda through its agency, the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) has received a grant worth Shs 6.2 billion from a French development agency (AFD) to facilitate the process of undertaking feasibility studies for a number of small hydro-power generation sites.

Battery Storage Takes Hold in the Wind Industry, Green Tech Media

Spanish wind power developer Acciona has bagged an industry award for battery storage research, amid claims the company is playing catch-up with an emerging trend.

EU Gives Tanzania U.S.$200 Million to Develop Energy Sector, All Africa

The European Union, through the Energy for Growth and Sustainable Development programme, has given Tanzania €180 million ($200 million) to develop its energy sector.

Hevel Solar to build 10MW PV project in Siberia, PV Tech

Russian PV project developer Hevel Solar — a joint venture between Renova and JSC Rusnano — announced that it has started work on a 10MW solar project that will be developed in the Republic of Buryatia, Siberia, Russia.


ENGIE and Electric Vine Industries collaborate on a USD 240 million project to bring energy to 3,000 villages in Papua, Eco-Business

ENGIE, one of the world’s energy leaders, signed a joint venture partnership agreement with Electric Vine Industries (EVI), a private microgrid developer that is committed to bringing sustainable energy access and income generation opportunities to unelectrified households across Southeast Asia.

MPower to add 5.6MWh battery system to Cook Islands solar plant, One Step Off The Grid

New South Wales-based renewables company MPower is set to build its largest energy storage project to date, after securing the contract to design and install a 5.6MWh battery system in Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands in the Pacific.

Solar powered refrigerators protect vaccines in cyclone-hit Fiji, Energy Matters

The Australian government has funded a rollout of solar powered refrigerators and off-grid solar power packs to health centers in cyclone-ravaged Fiji to preserve life-saving vaccines and medicines.

Printed Solar Tiles Are Thinner, Cheaper, and Easier to Use, Futurism

Researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia have found a way to print solar tiles. This method is cheaper and faster than traditional methods and could potentially be a game changer in the renewable energy industry.

Australia: Network “solar tax” canvassed for exports from solar households, RE New Economy

The Australian Energy Market Commission, the main rule maker for the industry, is canvassing a potential “solar tax” that could be charged by networks on solar households exporting surplus capacity back into the grid.

Costa Looks To Solar Power For Mushroom Growing Operations, Solar Quotes

Australia’s largest mushroom producer is expanding operations in South Australia; with solar energy on the cards to help power it.