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Sector News – May 2016 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

News

Sector News – May 2016

SECTOR NEWS

Global

Global Facility On Mini-Grids: Accelerating Electricity Access for the Rural Poor, Microgrid Knowledge

The World Bank explains how mini-grids are accelerating electricity access for the rural poor and describes programs and funding to help. The World Bank will delve deeper into the topic at “Upscaling Mini Grids for Least Cost and Timely Access to Electricity Services,” which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 23-27.


Caterpillar signs strategic alliance with First Solar to offer PV-powered micro-grids, SolarServer

Caterpillar (Peoria, Illinois, U.S.) and First Solar, Inc. (Tempe, Arizona, U.S.) announced a strategic alliance to develop integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) micro-grid applications. Under the agreement, First Solar will design and manufacture a pre-engineered turnkey package for use in remote micro-grid applications, such as small communities and mine sites. The package will feature Cat-branded solar photovoltaic (PV) panels manufactured by First Solar and will include balance of system components.


Solar-powered light-emitting cement developed, India Today

Scientists have created a new light-emitting cement that could last a hundred years and illuminate roads, highways or bicycle lanes at night by absorbing solar energy during the day.


Reid Detchon, Vice President for Energy and Climate Strategy, UN Foundation: Paris and Beyond, Philanthropy News Digest

In December, representatives from a hundred and ninety-five countries convened in Paris for the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), an annual gathering under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where they negotiated the so-called Paris Agreement, a non-binding pact to slow and, ultimately, reverse the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. On April 22, Earth Day, the agreement will be opened for signing by countries that support it. For most people, what that means — in terms of its impact, if any, on their lives and the future of the planet — is a mystery. To help shed light on these issues, PND spoke with Reid Detchon, vice president for energy and climate strategy at the United Nations Foundation, about the agreement, the significance of the signing ceremony, and whether the global community can slow and reverse emissions of greenhouse gases before it’s too late.


Follow the sun, the Economist

Raed Khader, a Jordanian driver, has an alarming habit of thumbing his mobile phone while at the wheel—albeit on a straight road cutting across the desert. But after scrolling back through almost two years of photos, he finds a picture that tickles him: of camels against a sandy backdrop. Today that same spot outside Ma’an, a poverty-stricken city in south Jordan, is crawling with workers in the final stages of installing five square kilometres (almost two square miles) of solar panels.


The innovators: portable solar panels that can be unrolled like a carpet, the Guardian

John Hingley has developed a ‘micro-grid’ in a metal box that can be used for disaster relief, mining, and even festivals.


Why Energy Experts Are Still Shocked By The Rise Of Solar & The Fall In Costs, Clean Technica

The solar revolution is upon us, and yet many still don’t get it. Yes, they say, solar will play an increasing role in the world’s energy systems, but they still fail to comprehend to what extent solar will become the dominant energy provider in the decades to come.


Africa

Decentralized energy to play part in Sierra Leone energy plan, Decentralized Energy

Sierra Leone has become the first country participating in the UK’s Energy Africa Campaign to sign an energy agreement, and its government is intent on providing electricity to all its 6 million people as part of its post-Ebola recovery plans, with a focus on decentralized home solar solutions.


Remote-Controlled Energy Kiosks & Microgrids in the Congo of Africa, Microgrid Knowledge

NovoMoto, an award-winning startup, has plans to provide remote-controlled energy kiosks and microgrids in the Congo of Africa, supplying electricity that’s 40 to 60 percent lower than the cost of kerosene.


Solar power, text messages fight maternal deaths in rural Cameroon, Thomas Reuters Foundation News

A combination of solar energy and a new mobile phone platform are making healthcare easier to access in Cameroon.


Sustainable Electricity for All: How Viable Are Mini-Grids in Senegal?, The Energy Collective

Maka Saar is a small remote village in Senegal, about two hours’ drive from the nearest city Thies and another one and half hours’ drive from Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Until two years back, it had around 700 residents who depended on paraffin candles and small torches for their lighting needs. There were some diesel generators to meet the few productive loads in the village. In 2015, a company called `Enersa’ established a 10 kWp solar power plant with a 1.5 km underground distribution network to provide electricity to the households and small businesses. The aim was to generate clean electricity from a village-scale solar power supply system for the 60 households and small shops. Similar to Enersa, there are many other small power companies that have set up solar–diesel hybrid mini-grids in Senegal, primarily with support from different donor agencies. For example, the German development agency, GIZ, has reportedly supported setting up of 300 mini-grids in the country. Further, around 400 mini-grids are being implemented by ASER (Agence Sénégalaise d’Electrification Rurale) with support from multilateral and development finance institutions.


A 15-ton computer aims to provide clean water, electricity, and the internet to thousands of Africans, Quartz Africa

The creators of Watly, a 15-ton multitasking thermal dynamic computer, believe their machine could help address three developmental challenges in Africa in one go: clean water, electricity and internet connectivity.


Four things to know about Africa’s pay-as-you-go solar energy market, How We Made It In Africa

The pay-as-you-go model has taken off in East Africa’s energy sector, enabling low-income rural households to rent, and later own, home solar power systems.


 Stepping into the light: financing solar power in developing countries, the Guardian

Living in rural Africa often means intermittent electricity supply, or none at all. With the help of Oikocredit, BBOXX has brought 65,000 affordable solar energy units to those in developing countries.


Enel rolls out version of Tesla home kit in South Africa, ESI Africa

The renewable energy division of Italy’s main power utility, Enel Green Power SpA, has started deploying a version of Tesla’s home-power kit in South Africa.


What lies behind Africa’s lack of access and unreliable power supplies, the Conversation

Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network, recently released a report highlighting Africa’s electricity challenges. Power shortages can hamper socioeconomic development, but they also have implications for health and education. The Conversation Africa’s energy and environment editor Ozayr Patel spoke to Peter Penar, one of the researchers.


Rwanda: Rural Areas Expect 100 Solar PV Mini-Grids Under Climate Action Plan, All Africa

An establishment of up to 100 solar PV mini-grids in rural communities has been pledged by government as part of efforts to mitigate climate change effects.


JUMEME to implement solar mini-grid project in Tanzania, African Review

JUMEME Rural Power Supply Limited’s (JUMEME) solar mini-grid project will provide electricity to 100,000 people and 2,340 small businesses in Tanzania’s rural centers.


Electricity shortage and its impact on small businesses, Lusaka Times

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.


Solar power is paving the way for better healthcare in South Sudan, SOLAR23

SOLAR23, one of the leading German providers for off-grid and on-grid solar power solutions, recently completed in February 2016 a project in South Sudan comprising the turn-key delivery of photovoltaic backup systems and rainwater tanks and the training of local service staff and the customer’s regional technical team which contributes significantly to the improvement of health care in South Sudan.


Confronting info poverty with educational technology in Senegal, the Jerusalem Post

Until we figure out how to affordably harness technology to educate the world’s poor, it is doubtful they will have the long-term ability to economically benefit from globalization and from the diversity of information available through the Internet. Information poverty adds a very real and important dimension to our concept of what it means to be poor in our connected world, a world that is in desperate need of more informed thinkers and problem solvers.


Asia

Solar Business Models for Growth: The Private Sector Needs to Lead on India’s Rural Electrification Deficit, RenewableEnergyWorld.Com

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is home to the country’s largest population of un-electrified villages. According to data collected by the Council on Clean Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), more than seventy percent of Uttar Pradesh’s 220 million residents still depend on kerosene lamps and diesel generators for lighting and electricity.


Power crisis pushes farmers to go for solar-powered pump sets, The Hindu

Farmers, looking at ways to skirt the daily worry of frequent power cuts and fluctuations in fuel prices, are showing interest in installing solar photovoltaic (PV) water pumps for irrigation in north Karnataka.


Bangladesh: Lack of coordination hits Solar Home System programme hard, the Financial Express

The government’s target to install 6 million solar home system (SHS) by 2021 faces a huge challenge due to policy inconsistency and Rural Electrification Board (REB)’s uncoordinated expansion of electrification. The government has set the target as part of ‘Vision 2021’ under the Power System Master Plan where Bangladesh’s total power generation was planned to increase to 30,000 MW by 2021. Of this, 10 per cent electricity will come from renewable energy sources. The statistics provided by Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a state-owned non-bank financial institution which is responsible for implementing the SHS programme, reveals that a total of 3.901 million SHS were installed across the country until December 2015, maintaining a great momentum in the job. The IDCOL says some 63,620 solar home systems were installed in March 2014 which came down to 48,391 in March 2015. This number fell to 15,905 in January 2016, showing a clear decline in the trend. Some IDCOL partner organisations (POs), which are mainly NGOs and private firms, are setting up the SHS with its financial support from the World Bank and other donor agencies, according to a news agency.


Philippines: World Bank provides $44-M guarantee to 2 RE projects, Manila Bulletin

The World Bank (WB) has approved two projects to boost investments in renewable energy (RE) in the Philippines and help bring electricity to millions of poor families in far-flung areas of the country.


Latin America & Caribbean

Lighting Up Communities with the Latest Technology in Energy Efficiency, IADB

The atmosphere was filled with joy and enthusiasm as residents of Lima attended the inauguration of the newly lit Tahuantinsuyo Park sports field, located in the district of Comas in Lima, Peru. The event was part of the “Light Up Your Life” program, which is promoted by the IDB and Philips Lighting. This program aims to promote energy efficiency and sustainability by creating well lighted community spaces, improving safety, and integrating all citizens into the community.


Indiegogo Campaign Aims To Light Up The Dominican Republic With $25 LED Lamps, Fast Company

For 8 million Dominicans with spotty electric service, and at least a million who are off the grid, cheap lights could change lives.


North America

Hawaii’s first off-the-grid classroom that runs solely on solar energy, Solar Energy Industry Today

The future of education is on wheels. MakeMobile is Hawaii’s first off-the-grid classroom that runs solely on solar energy. Docked at Kalani High School, the shipping container houses technology such as a laser cutter and a 3-D printer. Students are able to utilize the MakeMobile and its equipment for their engineering program.


Europe

Carmaker Nissan has announced a rival to Tesla’s Powerwall home battery pack called the xStorage. Like other residential batteries, the device is supposed to pull cheap electricity off the grid during off-peak hours and feed it back into the home when power is in demand and expensive. You can hook it up to renewable energy resources to charge it up off-grid, and Nissan says a companion app will help owners easily monitor usage.


After Total, France’s Engie too announces energy storage buy, SeeNews Renewables

French utility Engie (EPA:ENGI) said on Tuesday it has bought an 80% interest in US battery storage firm Green Charge Networks for an undisclosed sum. California-based Green Charge deploys, owns and operates battery systems, including solar-plus-battery solutions, at commercial & industrial (C&I) and public sector customer sites in the US. The portfolio of the company includes 48 MWh of battery storage projects either in operation or under construction across over 150 sites.


Oceania

Rooftop solar plus battery storage: “a train nobody can stop”, One Step Off The Grid

As chief scientist at Trina Solar – the world’s largest supplier of PV modules since 2014 – Pierre Verlinden is not necessarily best qualified to comment on the state of the Australian market. But as a PV researcher and developer of 17 years experience, who has watched the solar market grow 60,000-fold, and whose work over that time has directly contributed to falling costs and consistently improving generation efficiency – he knows where the technology is headed.


Australia: Network business to trial suburban solar+storage mini grid, PV Magazine

An Australian electricity network owner will trial the provision of solar+storage in a suburban setting to see whether 14 homes can form a mini grid, to deliver grid and savings on customer utility bills. AusNet is running the trial in the city of Melbourne that will see one street become a self-sufficient mini grid.