Picture this. You’re living in a rural area of a developing country. The nearest major town or city is a couple hours away. The community that you are living in does not have electricity. Proper sanitation might also be lacking. Once the sun goes down, that’s it. No more lights. For billions of people around the world, this is a reality. Makes you think.
The World Bank and the Government of the Netherlands provided support to a Mongolian program aimed at bringing solar power to the country’s nomadic herders. The project, called “Renewable Energy and Rural Electricity Access” (REAP), was funded by a US $3.5 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), a US $3.5 million
From a technological point of view, India is an excellent place for the development of solar energy. It gets plenty of sunshine for most parts of the year, with the summer temperatures well in excess of 1000 F in most parts of the country. To the northwest, India has the Thar Desert that has been identified as a feasible spot for the development of solar power, since the area is mostly an arid land and gets plenty of sunlight.
Apart from the solar power generation potential at a large scale, there is plenty of scope for household solar harvesting.
The SunPower Foundation is working to “change the way the world is powered.” The Foundation supports on-the-ground installation projects for rural communities in places like Mexico and the Philippines, as well as curriculum development for schools.
The Solar Energy for Rural Electrification project in the Philippines has impacted
Following up from my last post. Other areas of interest at the World Bank’s Energy Week conference included rural electrification. Grid connection is notoriously poor throughout Africa. Tanzania, for example, is around 22% depending on whom you talk to. In addition, just because a community has a grid penetration, it doesn’t mean everyone in that community has power at their house. Connections are expensive. The waiting list for the utility to make the connection is long.
Often time people take it upon themselves to make their own connection. Even if they do have power, it might not be reliable. Kenyan Power and Lighting Company is estimated to have around 11,000 outages per month. The other option for people to address lack of (or unreliable) grid connection is to support it with solar PV or fuel based generators. These two technologies support communities, can add capacity to the grid (if connected), and provide a potentially cheaper way to provide power to end-users (factoring in the implied costs associated with transmission) .