Clever payment systems, such as Oxfam’s plan, could revolutionise Zimbabwe with decentralised solar energy
Affordable solar schemes light way to energy for all in Zimbabwe BY TONDERAYI MUKEREDZI HARARE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Aug 8, 2016 – Innovative ways to pay for solar power systems could make clean energy affordable for many of Zimbabwe’s 1.5 million households that lack electricity, campaigners say. Zimbabwe produces only around 60 percent of the electricity it needs when demand is highest, and relies on costly imports to make up some of the shortage, particularly when drought hits hydropower facilities, as happened this year.
That means solar panels and other clean energy sources not connected to the southern African nation’s power grid are likely the cheapest and fastest way to bring electricity to those without it, say sustainable energy experts. “Only focusing on grid extension and increasing generation capacity will not allow us to attain energy access for all by 2030,” said Chiedza Maizaiwana, manager of the Power for All Zimbabwe Campaign.
To meet the internationally agreed goal, so-called “decentralised” renewable energy is “a critically needed solution”, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is imperative that we create the opportunity for families and businesses to access (these) services rapidly and affordably,” she said.
Getting connected to the grid in a rural area can cost thousands of dollars, a huge obstacle when many people earn between $20 and $100 a month, said Ngaatendwe Murimba, a program officer for Ruzivo Trust, a non-governmental organization (NGO) working to improve rural energy access.
But families without electricity do pay for energy, buying firewood or charcoal – which drive deforestation – batteries, or polluting fuels such as paraffin……..
Jonathan Njerere, head of programs in Zimbabwe for charity Oxfam, said that in Gutu district, 230 km east of Harare, his organization and others had helped set up a community-owned, self-financing solar energy scheme.
It has enabled more than 270 farmers to irrigate about 16 hectares (39.5 acres) of crops.
Oxfam gave the community solar equipment for irrigation and an initial batch of solar lanterns, which were sold to members. The proceeds were pooled in a savings and lending scheme, allowing others to join and buy solar products for home and business use.
Community funds are used to purchase solar equipment for sale to the public through energy kiosks, and the revenue is kept for repairs and relief in natural disasters.
Njerere said the program, assisted by 2 million euros ($2.22 million) from the European Union, had helped chicken farms, fisheries, tailors and shopkeepers acquire hire-purchase solar panels, so they can work in the evening as well as during the day.
Other entrepreneurs use the solar panels to sell mobile phone charging services for $0.20 a time………
Providing subsidized solar equipment would hugely improve uptake, Ruzivo Trust’s Murimba said. Communities are asking for free installation of solar systems, zero taxes on solar equipment, and government-accredited dealers who can provide them with quality solar equipment and technical support, he added.
One local company had to discontinue a popular package including a mobile phone and a $45 solar lamp. It sold some 400,000 lights to around a third of the country’s households, but they were poor quality, and many developed problems with no mechanism for repair or return.
In Harare, vegetable vendor Regina Meki, 40, uses a solar lamp she bought on credit to hawk her wares well into the night. Under a payment plan offered by a local solar company, she pays $1 a day for the $50 rented lamp, which has helped boost her monthly earnings from $70 to $120. “Solar energy has brought nothing but happiness to me, increasing my income. Besides payment for the equipment was easy on the pocket,” she said. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-zimbabwe-energy-solar-financing-idUSKCN10J0L3
An entire district in Rajasthan to be powered by solar energy, will end all water woes in the desert state! Rajasthan Electronics and Instrumentation Ltd, the firm currently handling the project has been given the green signal to spend Rs 11.91 crore for the entire project. India.com By Rutu Ladage on August 2, 2016“……..For Rajasthan government, coming up with newer techniques to ensure that the water issues never crop up, Barmer district in Jaiselmer is coming up with a unique solution. While we do have villages and homes in India that boast of solar power and using solar energy to meet their electricity needs, there are hardly any complete districts that boast of running solely on solar power. If the project works out, it will definitely be one of the major firsts in India and set the benchmark for other regions too. The Mukhyamantri Solar Adharit Nalkoop Yojana (MSANY). will provide 70 solar tubewells in Barmer district to help people become reliant on solar energy and use solar power even for agriculture.
From swords to solar, a German town takes control of its energy, National Observer, By Audrea Lim in News, Energy | July 28th 2016 The German town of Saerbeck is a swords to solar panels story. Above this former German military ammunition camp, perched atop a metal stem like an oversized stalk of wheat, giant blades rotate in the sky, given life by an invisible breeze.
In 2009, Saerbeck decided to shift its electricity entirely to renewable sources by 2030. Within just five years, they were generating 3.5 times more renewable electricity than the town consumed, not only with the installation of solar panels on private roofs, but through a 90-hectare, 70-million-euro Bioenergy Park that now houses seven wind turbines, a biogas plant, and a sprawling array of solar panels on the roofs of former military bunkers.
These camouflaged bunkers look like charming rows of grass-hatted hobbit holes, but were built to house tank ammunition and grenades. Today they provide the physical foundation for achieving local energy security and self-sufficiency—since 2012, Saerbeck’s entire electric grid has been owned by the community—as well as a canvas for the psychedelic shadowplay cast by the rotating turbine blades.
The key to Saerbeck’s success, explained Mayor Wilfried Roos, is the grassroots nature of these projects, which were conceptualized at weekly community meetings, and have brought in revenue for the town and local investors, as excess energy is sold back into the grid……..
A bunch of PIMBYs (Please, in my backyard)
At the center of the town’s transformation is the local energy cooperative Energy for Saerbeck, co-founded by Roos, which owns the solar plant and a turbine in the Bioenergy Park. By investing in the cooperative (the minimum amount is 1,000 EUR), local townspeople become voting members and earn profits. Since its founding in 2009, the cooperative’s membership has expanded from an original nine members to 384 today. More residents are eager to join—if only the coop could keep pace with enough new projects.
Wallraven credits the opportunity to invest and participate for the townspeople’s embrace of the transition, which some scholars describe with the cringe-worthy acronym “PIMBY”—“Please, In My Backyard”—or, in corporate jargon, as the achievement of “social acceptance.” “The cooperative has been a very important strategic instrument to get the people on board,” said Wallraven………
In Germany, the energiewende has largely been fueled by small and mid-sized investors. Citizen participation accounted for 46 per cent of the nation’s renewable energy capacity in 2012, and there were 973 electricity cooperatives running by 2015.
Sophie Vorrath: Musk’s energy master plan: Is this the beginning of the end of the utility? July 27, 2016. When Elon Musk published part 2 of his Tesla Masterplan last week, it was his vision of a future where cars from a huge shared fleet of driverless electric vehicles could be summoned by the touch of a mobile phone app that dominated headlines.
But Musk’s vision for a world of energy self-sufficient households with solar and battery storage was equally ambitious – and threatens to be as disruptive to the world’s electricity industry as his autonomous shared vehicle plan could be to the automotive industry, not to mention Uber. http://onestepoffthegrid.com.au/musks-energy-master-plan-is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-the-utility/
Aquila: Facebook’s solar-powered internet drone takes flight ABC News 23 July 16 Facebook has completed a successful test flight of a solar-powered drone that it hopes will help it extend internet connectivity to every part of the planet.
Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, high-altitude aircraft, flew at a few thousand feet for 96 minutes in Yuma, Arizona, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
The company ultimately hopes to have a fleet of Aquilas that can fly for at least three months at a time at 18,300 metres and communicate with each other to deliver internet access.
Google parent Alphabet Inc has also poured money into delivering internet access to underserved areas through Project Loon, which aims to use a network of high-altitude balloons to made the internet available to remote parts of the world………
Zuckerberg laid out the company’s biggest challenges in flying a fleet of Aquilas, including making the plane lighter so it can fly for longer periods, getting it to fly at 18,300 metres and creating communications networks that allow it to rapidly transfer data and accurately beam down lasers to provide internet connections……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-22/aquila-facebook-solar-powered-internet-drone-takes-flight/7651394
White House’s New Initiative to Install 1GW of Solar for Needies, Energy trend, 21 July 16 Under name of President Obama, the White House announces “Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative” and aims to offer a total of 1GW solar to low- and moderate-income families by 2020.
The Initiative, which was announced through a FACT SHEET on July 19, includes an investment of approximately US$288 million from housing associations, energy corporations, and power companies for solar deployment. The Initiative targets installing 1GW of solar systems for around 200,000 low- to moderate-income families by 2020.
President Obama’s Climate Action Plan set a goal of installing 100MW of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. The new initiative, depicted as “new catalytic goal,” will bring 10 fold of solar to the needy Americas. The Clean Energy Savings to All Initiative is the successor to the Climate Action Plan.
The new scheme will be implemented in collaboration with state agencies. Propergy-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding, a community solar competition and jobs programs will also be involved in.
The Initiative is supported by government agencies include the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Celeste Tsai, analyst at EnergyTrend, describes this new initiative as “an American version of PV Poverty Alleviation Project.” This program will be helpful for expanding renewable energy installations and relevant jobs as well as creating economical supports for needy families……., the new program will further declare Obama’s commitment to developing renewable energy and creating new jobs for the United States. http://pv.energytrend.com/news/White_House_New_Initiative_to_Install_1GW_of_Solar_for_Needies.html
Modern off-grid lighting could create 2 million new jobs in developing world, Eureka Alert, 20 July 16 Berkeley Lab study assesses employment impact of widespread conversion to solar-LED lighting in developing countries DOE/LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORYMany households in impoverished regions around the world are starting to shift away from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting–such as candles, firewood, and kerosene lanterns–to solar-LED systems. While this trend has tremendous environmental benefits, a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that it spurs economic development as well, to the tune of 2 million potential new jobs.
Berkeley Lab researcher Evan Mills, who has been studying lighting in the developing world for more than two decades, has conducted the first global analysis of how the transition to solar-LED lighting will impact employment and job creation. His study was recently published in the journal Energy for Sustainable Development in a paper titled, “Job creation and energy savings through a transition to modern off-grid lighting.”
“People like to talk about making jobs with solar energy, but it’s rare that the flip side of the question is asked–how many people will lose jobs who are selling the fuels that solar will replace?,” said Mills. “We set out to quantify the net job creation. The good news is, we found that we will see many more jobs created than we lose.”
While there are about 274 million households worldwide that lack access to electricity, Mills’ study focuses on the “poorest of the poor,” or about 112 million households, largely in Africa and Asia, that cannot afford even a mini solar home system, which might power a fan, a few lights, a phone charger, and a small TV. Instead this group can afford only entry-level solar lighting.
In countries such as Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, India, Indonesia, and Kenya, fuel-based lighting is not particularly “job-intensive.” Individual entrepreneurs sell lanterns, wicks, candles, fuel dippers, and kerosene in small quantities, often in local markets or on the roadside, but few jobs are created and many are part-time.
In all Mills found that fuel-based lighting today provides 150,000 jobs worldwide. Because there is very little data in this area, his analysis is based on estimating the employment intensity of specific markets and applying it to the broader non-electrified population. He also drew on field observations in several countries to validate his estimates.
He did a similar analysis for the emerging solar-LED industry and also collected data on employment rates for larger manufacturers and distributors representing the majority of global production of products quality assured by the World Bank’s Lighting Global initiative at the time. He found that every 1 million of these lanterns provides an estimated 17,000 jobs.
These values include employees of these companies based in developing countries but exclude upstream jobs in primary manufacturing by third parties such as those in factories in China. Assuming a three-year product life and a target of three lanterns per household, this corresponded to about 2 million jobs globally, more than compensating for the 150,000 jobs that would be lost in the fuel-based lighting market.
Furthermore Mills’ research found that the quality of the jobs would be much improved. “With fuel-based lighting a lot of these people are involved in the black market and smuggling kerosene over international borders, and child labor is often involved in selling the fuel,” he said. “Also these can be very unstable jobs due to acute shortages of kerosene and government subsidies going up and down. It’s a very poor quality of livelihood, and the commodity itself is toxic. These new solar jobs will be much better jobs–they’re legal, healthy, and more stable and regular.”
While there is some overlap in terms of skillsets required for the new jobs, retraining and education would be necessary. The new jobs span the gamut, from designing and manufacturing products to marketing and distributing them. “The challenge of re-employing some of these people is not trivial,” Mills said. “A lot of them aren’t literate. So there are some real human considerations to account for.”
In fact, a transition to modern lighting technologies could have immense benefits for the health and education of these populations. Mills, an energy analyst specializing in the energy efficiency of buildings and industry who also founded the Lumina Project, published a separate paper in the same journal recently that identified many of the risks of fuel-based lighting, such as child poisoning, slum fires, indoor air pollution, and lantern explosions leading to significant burn injuries.
Solar lanterns also provide far more and better light, allowing children to study in the evening and businesses to stay open later into the evening. “As long as people are using kerosene lanterns, candles, and other fuels for light, it’s actually reinforcing poverty because they’re spending so much on energy and getting so little in return. So many are stuck in that vicious circle,” he said.
Solar-LED lanterns and flashlights are gaining in popularity in the developing world thanks to being “a rugged, affordable, reliable, compact and very manufacturable technology and one that is effectively wireless,” Mills said.
In addition to job creation, the potential environmental benefits are also enormous. A study Mills published in Science in 2005 estimated global off-grid lighting energy expenditure at $38 billion per year. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 190 million metric tons per year, or the equivalent of those from about 30 million typical American cars.
“All of this energy and pollution can potentially be saved with a conversion to solar-LED systems,” he said……..http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/dbnl-mol071916.php
Thanks to solar power, this airport is no longer paying for electricity. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/thanks-to-solar-power-this-airport-is-no-longer-paying-for-electricity/ Jenny Soffel Website Editor, World Economic Forum 19 July 2016 [excellent graphs] If you fly over Cochin International Airport in Kerala, India, you will find yourself staring down at over 46,000 solar panels. The airport, India’s seventh busiest, last year became the first airport in the world to run completely on solar power.
It started as a pilot project in 2013 with 400 panels on the airport rooftop, an attempt by management to lower the airport’s energy bills. After the installation of a 12 megawatt solar plant, the airport was able to run entirely on solar power.
The airport has now stopped paying for its electricity altogether, and even sends energy back to the grid.
Solar energy has become a cheap option in India – the price has dropped to a similar level to that of coal.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the country’s investment target for the source of renewable energy will be increased to $100 billion, five times greater than current levels, scaling solar power to more than 10% of India’s total energy sector by 2022.
The successful project has inspired other airports both nationally and internationally to invest in renewable energy. Kolkata’s international airport in India is now also looking to build a solar plant to reduce its electric bill by a third.
South Africa recently opened the continent’s first solar-powered airport in George, in the Western Cape. It’s expected to save an excess of 1.2 million litres of water every year, and will contribute to around 40% of the airport’s electricity needs.
The street pavers were developed by Solar Roadways, a company created by inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw which raised more than $2.2 million in crowdfunding in 2014 to bring their technology to market. The Brusaws claim that replacing all of America’s roads and parking lots with their solar pavers would generate more than three times the country’s electricity consumption in 2009.
Missouri’s transportation department is set to launch their own crowdfunding campaign to support their energy experiment, and expects the hexagonal solar panels to be fully installed and operational by the end of the year.
- Farmers formed cooperative to install solar panels in their fields
- Solar panels power irrigation, surplus power sold to electricity board
- Project funded by farmers and non-profit group IWMI
Around seven months ago, about a dozen farmers in Ramabhai’s village about 90 km from Ahmedabad came together to form a solar cooperative and set up solar panels in the fields to generate electricity.
“We used to spend 500 rupees on diesel for pumping sets for drawing water for irrigation. But now we do it with solar energy,” Rambhai said.
“We also make money by selling solar power when we not irrigating our fields. We can sell excess electricity to the power board for Rs. 4.63 per unit,” he added…….http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/with-solar-power-a-gujarat-village-is-irrigating-its-fields-for-free-1408800
Wind turbines on Galapagos replace millions of liters of diesel since 2007, meet 30 percent of energy needs World’s top utilities hand over project keys, chart path for Ecuador’s famously biodiverse archipelago to meet 70 percent of fast-rising energy needs with renewables, Eureka Alert, 29 May 16.
GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE ELECTRICITY PARTNERSHIP A global renewable energy project on the Galapagos Islands — one of Earth’s most fragile and important ecological treasures — has helped avoid many tanker loads worth of risky diesel fuel imports since 2007, reduced the archipelago’s greenhouse gas emissions and preserved critically endangered species.
Now, after eight successful years, the project’s new operators are pursuing an ambitious expansion that would multiply the benefits of renewable energy for this remote, precious archipelago with a growing appetite for electricity.
A performance summary and recommendations for the expansion are contained in a new report by the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP), a not-for-profit association of 11 of the world’s foremost electricity firms, which led and financed the $10 million project.
The project’s three 51-metre-tall wind turbines and two sets of solar panels have supplied, on average, 30% of the electricity consumed on San Cristóbal, the archipelago’s second-largest island in size and population, since it went into operation in October 2007.
During that time, it has displaced 8.7 million litres (2.3 million gallons) of diesel fuel and avoided 21,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the GSEP report states. The achievements have led to awards from Power Engineering Magazine, World Energy Forum, and Energy Globe.
The proposed expansion could boost the renewable energy share to 70 per cent, en route to a hoped-for elimination of fossil fuels, the report states. It could also be a template for energy development elsewhere in the Galapagos chain — where renewable sources now account for 20% of electricity production — and elsewhere around the world……..http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/tca-wto052016.php
London borough installs 6,000 solar panels over marketplace http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/19/london-borough-installs-6000-solar-panels-on-market £2m scheme by Hounslow council on Western International Market will be biggest solar scheme by any local authority, and use batteries to store energy. A London council is unveiling a vast installation of 6,000 solar panels on a wholesale market rooftop, which it says is the largest such array put up by a local authority.
The London Borough of Hounslow says its £2m investment in solar, which has been installed on the roof of Western International Market, is also the first by a council to adopt battery storage to maximise the power from the panels.
The 1.73 megawatt (MW) array of 6,069 panels and four 60kW lithium batteries system now generates half the site’s required electricity.
The site is west London’s largest wholesale market for fresh produce and flowers, and uses around 3.5 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to provide climate controlled facilities to around 80 wholesalers and buyers – the equivalent of 1,750 homes a year.
Hounslow council, which owns the market near Heathrow Airport, says the solar system will contribute 2% of its carbon reduction target, cutting emissions by more than 780 tonnes a year.
It will also save £148,000 in energy costs which, along with £100,000 in generation tariff payments and £7,000 in export tariffs, means that the council expects to be £255,000 better off in the first year of operation.
Charles Pipe, energy manager at Hounslow, said: “From the very beginning, this project has been about reducing our carbon footprint and making an investment for the future. “But we have achieved so much more than that. Not only can we expect to see immediate savings on our electricity bills, but we are expecting to see a return on this investment in about five years.”
LG Electronics, one of Hounslow’s partners in the scheme, said it was the company’s largest solar panel installation in Europe and would deliver significant costs savings to the borough.
LG Solar’s UK senior solar sales manager Bob Mills said: “What’s more, the project has set the wheels in motion for further investment and research into the potential of battery storage, which is set to revolutionise the solar industry.
Solar-powered plane reaches California after journey across Pacific Mashable Australia, BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS , 24 Apr 16, MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered airplane landed in California on Saturday, completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean as part of its journey around the world.
Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View, south of San Francisco, at 11:45 p.m. local time following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without fuel. The plane taxied into a huge tent erected on Moffett Airfield where Piccard was greeted by project’s team……..
The trans-Pacific leg was the riskiest part of the plane’s global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites…….http://mashable.com/2016/04/24/solar-impulse-2-california/#gwzcbJ_OIkq3
Port Alberni hospital has Vancouver Island’s largest array of solar power Solar power could help with high hydro rates during peak hours on hot days By Liam Britten, CBC News Apr 23, 2016
Who loves the sun? — turns out West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni does. That building is home to 400 solar panels — the largest power-generating array on Vancouver Island, in fact.
The panels will be doing their work in the weeks and months ahead to see how much money Island Health Authority can save by using the power of the sun.
- Thompson Rivers University puts energy into solar powered walkway
- Vancouver roofing company starts offering solar panel installation
- Nelson’s ‘community solar garden’ starts leasing panels
“When it’s really hot and sunny and we’re using a lot of power to keep the hospital cool, the rates get very high with BC Hydro,” Deanna Fourt, director of energy efficiency and conservation with Island Health Authority told All Points West host Robyn Burns.
“So it’s going to work very nicely with the solar. This is what we’re thinking, because it’s going to be offsetting those really high-rate days or high-rate times.”……..http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-island-solar-power-1.3550022
Solar panels power business surge – not just lights – in Tanzania BY KIZITO MAKOY UKARA, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) 19 Apr 16 –
“………SOLAR STEPS UP
Around the world, as the costs of solar energy plunge, it is increasingly being used to power industry and businesses, a huge step forward from simply supplying lighting and basic electrical power in places like Tanzania, experts say.
Nyakalege, for instance, now uses solar power to operate his three milling machines simultaneously. He has employed three people to help him and has seen his customerbase rise to 600 a day…….
The solar system at Bwisya is part of a project to provide reliable and affordable electricity to the nearly 2,000 households and more than 200 businesses on Ukara, in order to boost opportunities to earn an income.
It is the first of 30 such systems JUMEME plans to install over the next two years. They are expected to supply power to around 100,000 people, company officials said.
The company has even bigger plans for the longer-term, they said.
“Our goal is to set up 300 systems and serve up to 1 million people in rural areas across Tanzania by 2022, making JUMEME the largest mini-grid operator in the country,” said Thadeus Mkamwa, one of the company’s directors.
The project, jointly funded by the European Union and private investors with political support from the Tanzanian government , has a total budget of 38.4 billion shillings ($17.6 million), Mkwama said.
PRE-PAID SOLAR POWER
In Bwisya, the largest village on Ukara, 250 customers are due to be connected to a hybrid power station consisting of a 60-kilowatt (KW) solar photovoltaic system and a 240 KW-hour battery bank. A diesel generator provides back-up.
The system will be extended in the second half of this year to connect the other villages on the island, Mkamwa said.
The installation charges for individual homes and business are repaid by customers in installments. Consumers pre-pay for their power, with costs per unit depending on the amount of electrical equipment they use…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-tanzania-solar-energy-idUSKCN0XG1VX
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- global warming
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual
- World Nuclear