Category Archives: energy access

Solar-Based Solutions Improving Livelihoods in Rural Areas

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

Renewable Energy Efforts Scaled-Up in Central America

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

Ministers: ‘IRENA/ADFD Plays Key Role Advancing Renewables in Developing Countries’

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’

Ministers Gather to Discuss Development with Off-Grid Renewables

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

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems in Rural Senegal Give Access to Electricity

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

Renewable Energy in Burkina Faso: Improving Living Conditions and Alleviating Poverty

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

Solving the Energy Access Problem with Renewable Mini-Grids

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