Solar power is the only answer to light up rural Africa

● By Prof. AbuBakr Bahaj, University of Southampton ● It is estimated that around one and a half billion people globally have no access to reliable electricity. Most live in developing countries where the cost of connecting rural villages to the electricity grid is, and will remain, prohibitively expensive. This is certainly the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where remote villages lie in huge expanses of territory, far from electrified towns and cities. The 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, comprising 800m people, generate power roughly equivalent to Spain, with a population of 45m. And, incredibly, this figure is falling. Building infrastructure in Africa is a major challenge, and electrifying the continent is perhaps the biggest of all. This challenge was the target of the our Energy for Development (E4D) programme. The aim is to set up and implement easy-to-replicate, sustainable, decentralised, off-grid electricity generation for rural communities, which requires overcoming various scientific, engineering, and policy questions challenges. A key aim was not just to electrify but to invigorate rural communities and village centres by providing a means to support self-governance, finance and entrepreneurship. The Kitonyoni village market solar project established in Makueni County, southeast Kenya, involved setting up a community-based, energy supply co-operative. This would operate an electricity mini-grid to distribute solar powered electricity. The mini-grid was designed to supply power to all buildings in the village centre, including shops, cafes, schools, health centres, and churches. To ensure the project is economically sustainable, the village community contributes to the co-operative and is responsible for running and maintaining the 13.5kW power plant. Income is generated by co-op membership fees, electricity sales and share ownership, and this covers all the running and maintenance costs ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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