Reliable solar-powered refrigerators are creating economic opportunities for remote, rural towns
In Wainika, a remote village north of Vanua Lavu, Fiji’s second largest island, villagers depend on fishing for their livelihoods. However, the nearest market to trade fish is a laborious two-hour drive and a 45-minute boat ride away. Keeping their fish fresh, without refrigeration, during this journey used to be impossible for Wainika’s villagers, until a renewable-powered solution presented itself.
The installation of a standalone hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) refrigeration system has drastically changed the economic prospects of the village. Installed at the village community hall, the system enables villagers to chill their fish in preparation for the journey to the market, and helps power lighting and phone charging outlets. A backup diesel generator ensures the operation of the freezers during long cloudy periods. Continue reading Solar Supports Village Livelihoods and Spurs Business in Fiji
New addition to IRENA’s Project Navigator has the best practices for developing mini-grid projects in Small Island Developing States
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) can transform their power sectors towards renewable energy, addressing the challenges of affordable energy and climate change. In this context, renewable mini-grid solutions, composed of electricity generators and storage systems interconnected to a distribution network which supplies electricity to a localised group of customers, are now cost-effective and viable strategies to expand electricity access in SIDS.
Now, IRENA’s online platform, Project Navigator, provides the tools and guidance to assist in developing renewable mini-grid projects, and introduces the best practices to assist project developers in preparing, developing, and operating bankable projects, particularly in the context of SIDS. Continue reading Mini-Grid Project Guide Developed for Small Islands
Organisations around the world are teaming up to help rural communities gain access to basic energy needs through renewables
In Majhuee, a village nestled in central Nepal, Raj Mani Chaudhary and his wife depend on fish and vegetable farming for their income. The couple used to spend NPR 2500 (USD 24) per month to operate and maintain a diesel pump for their farm, but as their pump got older, so did the cost and frequency of its repairs. Slowly this was becoming unsustainable and something had to change.
Change meant turning to solar power. Continue reading Solar-Based Solutions Improving Livelihoods in Rural Areas
Home to over 40 million people and with an economy growing more than a 3 per cent per year, Central America is a region with rapidly increasing energy needs. The natural conditions and climate variability of the region make it vulnerable to natural disasters, and approximately 7 million people in the region still have limited or no access to basic electricity.
To help tackle Central America’s growing energy demand, diversify its energy mix, and ultimately reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuels, IRENA and Central American countries are working together to implement identified renewable energy recommendations in the region. Continue reading Renewable Energy Efforts Scaled-Up in Central America
At IRENA’s seventh Assembly, held in Abu Dhabi in January 2017, renewable energy projects from the Marshall Islands, Niger, Seychelles and the Solomon Islands were selected to receive a total of USD 44.5 million in funding through the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility. The Facility is a unique partnership between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), set up to identify and partially finance promising renewable energy projects in developing countries.
At the Assembly, energy ministers from the four selected countries explained how this partnership will bring about a positive change in their respective countries. Continue reading Ministers: ‘IRENA/ADFD Plays Key Role Advancing Renewables in Developing Countries’
Over a billion people in rural and peri-urban areas live without electricity, and another 2.9 billion rely on traditional fuels (like firewood) for cooking and heating. The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that bringing affordable electricity access to these people will enable increased productivity, higher incomes, improved food and water security, enhanced access to healthcare and education, and a host of other benefits towards developing communities and raising people out of poverty.
But what’s the best way to sustainably bring electricity access to people and gain this myriad of benefits in a timely manner? Off-grid renewables offer one approach that fulfils these needs and is both economical and good for the environment. Continue reading Ministers Gather to Discuss Development with Off-Grid Renewables
In the rural village of Salémata, located in the Kédougou region of southern Senegal, 10-year old Omar and his parents used to spend money on costly kerosene and low quality solar torches for basic lighting needs in their house. The kerosene and torches did not provide light for the whole evening, making studying at night a challenge for Omar. Omar’s parents then purchased a pay-as-you-go solar system in hopes that it could solve their lighting and energy problems. Since then, Omar is able to complete his homework every night and has improved his performance at school. And when his homework is done, now he can even watch some football games on TV.
The pay-as-you-go system Omar’s family purchased is made by Touba Solar Rama, a company that is supported by an Entrepreneurship Support Facility established by IRENA and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Based at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso, the facility provides advisory assistance to small and medium-sized renewable energy entrepreneurs in West Africa. Continue reading Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems in Rural Senegal Give Access to Electricity
Burkina Faso’s economy is heavily reliant on energy imports. In 2013, 92% of the country’s electricity was imported or produced from imported oil and the country’s economy is particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in the price of oil. Burkina Faso is simultaneously facing challenges of energy access, energy security and climate change mitigation.
With no growth in electrification rates over the last few years, less than 5% of the rural population have access to electricity and many schools and hospitals lack supply. Rural communities rely on expensive and harmful kerosene, batteries, and candles to meet their basic energy needs and have no access to electricity to meet these needs or support income generating activities. Continue reading Renewable Energy in Burkina Faso: Improving Living Conditions and Alleviating Poverty
Until recently, renewable-powered mini-grids were viewed as capable of delivering only basic energy services – for single houses or small communities – but recent technological innovations are changing that perception. Increasingly, renewable energy mini-grids offer a means to meet much larger power needs, including for industry.
Since 1990 energy access has improved and nearly two billion more people have gained access. However, more than a billion people still lack electricity access and another billion have only an unreliable supply. To achieve universal electricity access by 2030, the pace of expansion needs to at least double, and estimates suggest that off-grid solutions will provide roughly 60 per cent of the additional generation needed. Continue reading Solving the Energy Access Problem with Renewable Mini-Grids
Agriculture and related agri-food activities are at the heart of the rural economy, with a large percentage of households employed in harvesting, agro-processing, transporting and selling produce. Yet, rural communities often struggle with the lack of access and affordability of resources, and they can be limited to producing low-quality goods with little variety. This traps rural economies in poverty.
Affordable energy services were recognized as essential ingredients of economic development in the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty. More recently, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy has been included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Increasing access to cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy services can have a broader development impact through better livelihoods, improved health, gender equality and enhanced education..
Released this weekend at the International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition, IRENA’s first interactive digital publication, Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralised Solutions in the Agri-food Chain, highlights the socio-economic benefits of using decentralised renewable energy to deliver energy for activities in the agri-food chain in rural areas. Continue reading Renewables for Growing Food and for Growing the Economy