Swiss company HopSol built the third largest PV farm in Namibia and connected it to the utility grid in just two years—with the help of SMA inverter technology and my colleague Manuel März. He told me what mining bees have to do with PV farms and the possibilities that this, at first glance rather inhospitable, country offers.
Small- and medium-sized grid-tied renewable energy systems have recently created interesting investment opportunities in Kenya. Electricity tariffs ranged from 0.14 US$/kWh for large industrial consumers to 0.226 US$/kWh for normal household consumers in December 2014. As the market segment solar PV grows, the main question for both utility companies and investors is the possibilities of reducing cost of power production and its maintenance.
Karen Roses Ltd is a family owned business operating six flower farms in Kenya. One of its farms, situated at Eldama Ravine in the Rift Valley, is at an altitude of 2000 meters, is now equipped with a 150 kWp PV system. During the day, the energy demand of the facility is almost entirely fulfilled by the solar power generated. When the national grid is working, the PV plant operates in parallel to significantly reduce the cost of imported energy.
How does it feel to live without electricity? This is something that Souleymane Niang can still remember all too well. Growing up in a village in Senegal, up to the age of 12 he did his homework by the light of a sooty petroleum lamp. Today, an industrial engineer, he is developing the market for PV-diesel hybrid systems in the Earth’s Sunbelt region for SMA — and is playing an instrumental role in ensuring that nobody living in developing and newly industrialized countries will ever have to live without electricity again.
It’s still winter. This is the time of year that many people head south to bask in the sun. Here’s our vacation tip: Travessia Beach Lodge on the Mozambique coast in Africa offers not only amazing place to relax, but also a sustainable one, nestled in on a beach among dunes and palm trees.
Our South African subsidiary just opened it’s new manufacturing facility in Cape Town. While it was the original idea to produce the inverters for the South African market in South Africa, the investment will also boost the capacity of the solar power industry — to help address the country’s growing energy crisis, create jobs, transfer skills and technology as well as support the REIPP projects (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer) with local content requirements.
You can have the most interesting job in the world doing something meaningful, as with solar technology, but the siren’s call of distant lands and new and different cultures will seduce you time and again.
The public utility grid in Tanzania is not very reliable. There are frequent power outages in rural regions in particular, a circumstance that makes it difficult to run a school. The students of the German Wilhelm-Raabe-Schule senior high school in Lüneburg have taken on this challenge.
Another megawatt class off-grid PV system went into operation in Mozambique. The project was originally launched at the request of the Mozambican government to provide an electricity supply to three areas that have no connection to the local utility grid. Until now, the people in Muembe, Mavago and Mecula relied on candlelight and firewood. Now, they can dream of a better life and live a longer day with light from an off-grid system.
More than 1.3 billion people – or 22 percent of the world’s population – still live without electrical power. They live predominantly in rural regions without a connection to the grid. In September 2013, Harald Leitl and his team flew to Chilonga in Malawi in East Africa to set up a stable, maintenance-free power supply with the help of solar technology. We spoke to Harald Leitl, the managing director of the German Gablenz-based company Umweltcentrum für Haustechnik (Environmental Center for Housing Technology).
In a previous blog post, we introduced Sioma High School, located in Western Zambia, Africa. The school, which houses more than 600 students each semester, was powered by three dirty, noisy and inefficient diesel generators that cost about $26,000 in fuel per year. However, that all changed when the non-profit organization Empowered by Light created a healthier learning environment for the students by outfitting the school with a 24-kilowatt solar microgrid and battery storage system.