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Sector News – May 2017 | Energy Access Practitioner Network


Sector News – May 2017


World’s First Refugee Camp Powered By Clean Energy, SAFE

After two years of darkness, UNHCR shared that Azraq refugee camp in Jordan now has light. And it’s from clean energy. Watch this video from UNHCR’s Facebook page to find out how becoming the first refugee camp to be powered by clean energy is changing the lives of the people living there.

A Cleaner Path: Solar Energy’s Impact on Health, Acumen Blog

Imagine for a moment that the light used in your home was a poison. One that could damage your lungs, irritate your eyes, even impact the health of your unborn child. You’d think twice about flicking on that switch. Kerosene lamps—used by an estimated 290 million people across Africa—contribute to household air pollution. Such pollution is responsible for more deaths a year than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV combined.

5 Ideas to consider to make universal energy access a reality, Power for All

Our global goal of extending access to modern energy services to all people by 2030 will remain a distant reality unless there is a fundamental shift in how we implement plans to expand access.

Navigant: Distributed solar-plus-storage worth US$49 billion in less than 10 years, PV Tech

In less than 10 years, distributed solar-plus-storage systems will reach 27.4GW worldwide and be worth

more than US$49.1 billion, with Asia and Western Europe leading the way, a new report from Navigant Research has forecast.


Electrification rates across 24 African nations according to World Economic Forum, Ecofin Agency

Five countries are placed equal at the top of the ranking of African nation with the best electrification rates, according to the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index Report 2017 released on March 22 by the World Economic Forum and Accenture Strategy.

The African Development Bank is leading in renewable energies, the Local Africa News

The head of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, wants to connect 75 million people with off-grid-systems. But he still thinks, that Africa has to use all means of energy, even new coal fired power plants.

Can crowd funding help scale up solar power for Africa’s poor?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

When Ronald Van Harten arrived in Kenya from the Netherlands in 2015 he was determined to invest in solar-powered equipment for homes across Africa, make a profit and help the rural poor get energy.

Can Software Help Drive Solar Power Competitiveness in Africa?, Solar Magazine

Cost consideration is a major barrier to solar power adoption in Africa where consumer purchasing power may be several magnitudes lower than that in developed countries. In addition to cost concerns, solar power promoters also face further consumer concerns with operational challenges; this is especially true with mini grids and hybrid solar systems that target business owners. How do businesses effectively and efficiently manage the operation of their solar mini grids to optimize reliability and justify the overall investment? For stakeholders in the on grid solar power (utility-scale), there is also the challenge of optimizing operation and maintenance, as well as, achieving effective reporting standards and practices for named stakeholders in a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Start-ups can help Africa meet its energy needs. But they need to be encouraged, EconoTimes

Energy access remains a huge problem for most people living on the African continent. More than 600 million out of a population of about 1.3 billion people in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have reliable electricity access.

Lights out: poor governance and Africa’s energy crisis, Theafricareport.com

Africa is rich in resources and opportunities. In so many fields, however, the continent is yet to hit its stride, often because there is not enough political will to manage resources better and create necessary incentives. Africa’s energy crisis is a prime example.

USTDA backs one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s first utility solar-plus-storage projects, PV Tech

The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is continuing its mission of funding priority development projects in emerging economies, this time by signing two grants that leverage US technology and investment to increase access to affordable, reliable electricity in Kenya.

Entrepreneurs in Africa starting to identify opportunities in sustainable energy, Energy-in-demand

We often forget that Africa has a flourishing class of entrepreneurs. Fred McBagonluri, Dean of Engineering at Ashesi University in Ghana writes on The Conversation website about recent developments and, importantly, that there is a need to further encourage them to help improve access to electricity for much of the population.

Solar importers face new Development Bank of Ethiopia terms, Asoko Insight

The Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) has revised the terms that private solar device providers need to comply with to access the 20 million dollars working capital loan secured from the World Bank (WB). The new terms set out by the state policy financier requires 75pc of the funds go to import Solar Home Systems (SHS), 20pc to import solar lanterns and five percent for biogas.

Rensource Starts Lighting Up Nigeria with its New Approach to Solar Power Distribution, TechWorm

Using an innovative business model designed specifically for the Nigerian market, Rensource intends to provide Nigerians with a cleaner, less expensive solution to meet their power needs

Access Power selects 50MW Nigeria solar plant as ACF financing winner, PV Tech

A 50MW grid-tied solar PV plant in Nigeria’s Kaduna state has been selected as one of the winners for financing under Access Power’s Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) fund – the first crowdsourcing origination platform of its kind that provides funding to local developers. The project is expected to reach financial close in late 2017 with construction commencing next year.

Hybrid Renewable Mini-grids playing big role in providing energy access in Rwanda, MININFRA

Mini-grids in Rwanda are developed by the private sector with government playing a key role in identifying sites and establishing a framework through which they become financially viable investments. Mini-grids are small distribution systems isolated from the national power system which includes a source of power generation. This generation is usually provided by hydro or solar, often in conjunction with either battery storage or diesel generation to handle the intermittency of power output presented by renewables.

Rwanda: Police to provide solar energy to 3,000 households, the New Times

Rwanda National Police is set to provide solar home systems to 3000 households in remote areas and 30 health centers in every district of the country in the coming month.

Rwandan police peacekeepers in Darfur donate solar equipment to women business center in IDP camp, Rwanda Updates

Rwanda Police peacekeepers serving as Individual Police Officers (IPOs) under the African Union-United Nations hybrid Operations in Darfur (UNAMID) donated solar home systems to light business center for women in Abushouk internally displaced camp.

Uganda: World Bank Lauds Uganda On Energy Sector Improvements, All Africa

A World Bank study has singled out Uganda and Seychelles as the two countries with the most efficient power utilities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Uganda: Solar companies call for reduction in taxes on solar equipments in the coming financial year, Capital FM

Solar companies are calling Government to further reduce taxes on solar equipment’s as they import them in the country.

Uganda Rural Electrification Agency Targets 2.5 Million New Connections by 2022, Chimp Reports

Solomon Tumwesigye, a resident of Kakigani, Rwampara, Mbarara District, has spent nearly his adult life without electricity.

Liberia: Ellen Submits US$2M Loan for Increased Access to Electricity, Daily Observer

A US$2 million Loan Agreement to generate financing for the Liberia Renewable Energy Access Project (LIRENAP), which will increase access to electricity and foster the use of renewable energy sources, has been submitted to the House of Representatives for ratification.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Solar/diesel hybrid power station in Burkina Faso, Sirea Group

In partnership with TIERI-Burkina, Sirea has designed a hybrid solar/diesel power station for the Sahel electrification project, launched by IED. This power station aims to optimize the group’s operating conditions to avoid both overloading (either through the immediate injection of solar energy or solar energy stored in batteries) and underloading. The solution also maximizes the use of solar energy by storing surplus energy during phases of lower consumption. This helps to save fuel and to optimize maintenance with controlled operating conditions to prevent clogging and operations at high temperatures.

Sierra Leone News: Solar mini grid enhancing lives in Segbewma & Panguma, Awoko

Two solar mini grids have been commissioned to provide electrification to schools, hospitals, agricultural processing centers, rural financial institutions, households and businesses for residents of Segbwema in Kailhaun and Panguma in Kenema Districts. The Commissioning of the Segbwema mini grid, which is 127Kw and the Panguma mini grid, which is 86kw is aimed to meet the growing demand for energy amongst the rural population.

Namibia: Rural households have limited access to electricity, New Era

While nearly 75 percent of Namibians in urban areas had access to energy in 2015, 76 percent of their fellow citizens in rural households still do not have electricity. This information is contained in the Fifth National Development draft report.

Muhanya Solar launches Sinda mini-grid, Zambia Daily Mail

MUHANYA Solar Limited has launched a pay-as-you-go 30 KW mini-grid solar system in Sinda at a cost of US$133,700.


DC solar products are lighting up rural India: What’s driving the increased demand?, First Post

India is at a growth curve, largely fueled by the expansion of domestic manufacturing. The country’s ‘Make in India’ initiative encourages a need for new infrastructure, which requires more industrial energy.

Solar power: A shot in the arm for India’s health centers, the Economic Times

For Dr Vinayak Salunke, flashlights worth less than $10 each are one of the most valuable assets at the Vihamandra health center in Aurangabad in India’s western state of Maharashtra.

India assists Mauritania with $65.68 million rural electrification project, Energy World

Despite very low trade between India and Mauritania, New Delhi has approved letters of credit worth $65.68 million for a solar-diesel hybrid rural electrification project in the north African country, the Embassy of Mali, which is also accredited to the country, has said.

India: Metro stations may soon sport solar street lights, EQ International

To reduce power consumption and utilize non-conventional energy sources, Chennai Metro Rail plans to install solar street lights in some of its station premises soon.

Nepal looking to launch grid-connection program for 25MW of solar, PV Tech

The Nepal Electricity Authority is on the search for consulting services in preparation of the launch of the energy authority’s Nepal Grid Solar and Energy Efficiency Project.

Bangladesh: The power of thinking small and solar, the Daily Star

Is it the time to think big, again? Can only mega projects catch the country’s attention and lead Bangladesh to becoming a middle income country? On the road to 2021, the Government of Bangladesh has declared, among many other goals, to reach universal electrification (currently somewhere between 62-75 percent, and a matter of heated debates) and a 10 percent share of renewables in the energy mix (currently less than 3 percent).

ADB backs Cambodia’s first ever large-scale solar farm, PV Tech

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing financial assistance for the construction of Cambodia’s first large-scale solar power project – a 10MW farm based in Bavet.

Is Pakistan’s solar power poised to take off amid energy crisis?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Solar energy production in Pakistan is poised to take off – just as the South Asian country is ramping up coal production to help plug a crippling power crisis, energy experts say.

20,000 Pakistani Schools to Go Solar, Eco Watch

About 20,000 schools in the province of Punjab in Pakistan will convert to solar power, according to government officials.

Energy for all: How do we get there?, Eco-Business

There is a push for universal energy access by governments all over the world, however the barriers are socioeconomic, geographic and demographic. Here’s what needs to happen, says Jaideep Bansal from the Global Himalayan Expedition.

Middle East

Rural patients reaping health benefits of clean energy in Afghanistan, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

Getting electricity in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province is no simple matter. Afghanistan currently ranks 14th on the list of unelectrified countries, with 19 million people – more than half its population without power. Considered a fragile state, the country is still regularly rocked by violence, disrupting supply lines and daily life.

Iran’s largest solar project completed in Isfahan, PV Tech

Iranian investment conglomerate Ghadir and an unnamed partner from Greece have brought a 10MW solar PV plant into operation in the Isfahan province of Iran, according to the country’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (SATBA).

Latin America / the Caribbean

Lizards, honey and 754MW: Behind the Americas’ largest solar project, PV Tech

Mexico will soon have a starring solar project – the largest in the entire Americas – to cement its newfound leading role in renewables driven by a major energy market reform. Italian power giant Enel is set to continue its domination of Latin America by developing the record 754MW project, having already bagged the largest solar plants completed or under construction in both Chile and Brazil.

2018 will be ‘take-off year’ for solar in Mexico, PV Tech

Analysts and developers alike have been saying that Mexico will be the next biggest solar market for years now. But according to GTM Research’s Manan Parikh, the time is finally approaching for solar to ‘take-off’ in Mexico.

US $34-million solar street lights project for Dominica, Dominica News Online

A U.S. $34-million solar street lights project has been approved for Dominica which will assist in reducing the impact of climate change.

North America

Virginia governor signs 11 energy bills, including solar, energy storage and pumped hydro, PV Tech

Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe signed 11 bills that promote solar and other renewable energy resources such as pumped hydro.


Solar-powered plant to clean up water supplies, Energy Voice

Technology developed at a Scottish university could help millions of people exposed to high levels of arsenic in water around the world.

Germany breaks renewables record with coal and nuclear power responsible for only 15% of country’s total energy, Independent

Electricity prices fell to negative figures for several hours on Sunday, as renewable sources fed so much power into the grid that supply exceeded demand.


CEFC to provide funding for 42.5MW solar farm in Queensland, Australia, PV Tech

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) announced Monday that it has committed approximately US$44.5 million in financing to RATCH-Australia Corporation — which the company will use to redevelop a disused coal-fired power station in Collinsville, Queensland, as a 42.5MW solar farm.