Microgrid News Weekly: Focus on Africa — February 17, 2017
Lead acid batteries provide energy storage for a majority of solar microgrids in rural Africa. Mass production has made costs of this older technology down affordable. However, batteries were simply not invented and designed to provide electricity to households. Despite being relatively cheap, lead acid batteries are not good at storing power produced on a solar microgrid. Operators are forced to install battery banks with a much higher-than-needed rated capacity. Other energy storage technologies do not suffer the same problems but are currently out of reach for these microgrids.
With efforts to support geographic expansion throughout Africa, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it will award a $4 million loan to multiple innovative, off-grid solar businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. This funding is part of USAID’s Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development, a global partnership between the agency, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development, and the Shell Foundation.
Two firms have signed an agreement to provide solar power to 25 Nigerian communities. A Nigerian firm, Community Energy Social Enterprises Limited (CESEL), and its American counterpart, Renewvia Energy Corporation, signed a $767,512 agreement to provide solar energy for these communities on “pay-as-you-go” basis.
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