Florence Babirye lives in the town of Kamuli in Eastern Uganda where she is a self-employed mother of five. Before purchasing Fenix International’s ReadyPay Solar system, Florence worried about her children reading at night, due to the extensive health and safety risks that come with using kerosene for lighting. After investing in the kit, Florence said:It has bright lights that power ‘til morning, plus I’m able to charge phones for myself and my neighbors. I no longer worry about my children reading at night and the general safety that comes with it — health-wise, security.”
ReadyPay Power customers pay as little as $0.19 per day to access power for lighting and phone charging at an entry level, with the option to add more power for larger products such as TVs, radios and cooking stoves. After 24–36 months of payments, customers own the solar home system outright. Based on the credit score customers establish while paying off their power systems, they are able to purchase upgrades to their energy system, energy-efficient appliances, or other life-changing financial products such as loans for school fees. The impact of solar home kits for women like Florence can be transformative.
(Reuters/Amina Ismail, 10 May 2018)
China’s GCL Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Egypt’s ministry of military production to build a solar panel facility at a cost of up to $2 billion, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Thursday. Under the MOU, which was signed on Wednesday, the facility will manufacture panels capable of producing 5 gigawatts (GW) annually, it said, without mentioning the location or timeframe of the project. Egypt in 2014 announced extensive plans to develop renewable energy targeting 4.3 GW of wind and solar projects to be installed over three years, but many investors pulled out following contract disputes. Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former general who took office in 2014, has promised to revive the economy, which has struggled since a 2011 uprising scared away investors and tourists, Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency.
Mini-grids can get power to the people with government support that is simple, equitable and results-focused. As global energy systems evolve to be smarter, cleaner, and more consumer-centric, sub-Saharan Africa has a unique opportunity to build the power grid of the future, while also connecting more than 600 million people to electricity for the first time. Achieving these objectives, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), will depend largely on renewable, reliable, and modular community-based power plants and distribution systems called mini-grids. It will also require commitment from both the private sector and the public sector. The private sector will need to bring innovation, efficiency, relentless emphasis on customer service, and private capital.
In February, Kenyans awoke to news that has become an annual ritual: Authorities were considering temporarily shutting down hydropower dams, the country’s largest source of electricity. The reason was the one given each dry season for the last four years – too long without rain had left too little water in reservoirs to turn the turbines and generate power. Kenya Power Ltd., the national electricity utility, has so far always managed to avoid a full shutdown, instead turning off just a few turbines at a time. But to make up the gap it has turned to more expensive – and polluting – diesel generators to keep the country plugged in.