Africa needs to invest in more mini grid and off grid solutions to provide more people with power and support economic growth and social transformation, so says Africa Progress Panel - led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Traditional methods of supplying power are unreliable and experience many challenges, with mini grids and off grids as modern methods can help bridge that gap. Their demand is increasing and costs decreasing.
Availability of reliable, low-cost energy is the cornerstone of economic development and is a primary limiting factor for many developing countries. We share knowledge on an energy sector which is undergoing massive change with new technologies that will provide cheaper, more accessible and cleaner energy.
Is Kenya about to lead not only Africa, but the world, in terms of smart cities and combining the Internet of Things (IoT) and LEDs to make smarter, more environmentally friendly, communities? It may well happen. Kenya, as part of Africa, often gets lumped in with the general impression of lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of technology and innovation, but that’s set to change as the country leads the race to utilize new technology-rich ecosystems.
Kenya is a first in many a renewable energy innovation. The latest addition to this space is a solar-powered motorbike, a prototype of its kind in the transport sector. With the innovation of rural transportation interfacing with renewable energy, a lot of benefits are set to be realized in the rural transportation and trade sectors.
Energy Africa Indaba was held on February 21 to 22 in Sandton, South Africa and set to catalyze development of energy sector in Africa. It brought together political leaders, experts in energy, and stakeholders from all around the world. It saw its first ever Youth Energy Innovator exhibition and launching of the energyDRIVE initiative, in addition to the panels, keynote addresses and energy agreements reached at during the event. It also hosted the third annual Women in Energy conference.
The new year, 2017, has begun in earnest for the cleantech scene in Kenya, as M-KOPA, a local Kenyan clean energy company has been named among other contenders as an innovative outfit in the Global Cleantech 100. The company leverages mobile money penetration in providing solar energy to bottom-of-the-pyramid off-grid rural populations in Kenya and the region.
Kenya Arid and Semi Arid lands comprise of 70 percent of total country land although they host only about 20 percent of population. These arid and semi arid areas are affected with massive food shortage, water shortage and drought, with up to 5 million people affected every year. Only 5 percent have access to electricity through the national grid. While irrigation could help, diesel and petrol powered pumps are not economically feasible. Solar power pumps, which have been proved to be cost effective in such areas due to low maintenance and operation cost can help.
Globally, there are currently 1.5 billion people who have no access to the main grid. Currently, Kenya stands at 83% on mobile penetration, but only 20% of these statistics have their households connected to the main grid. The question then becomes how possible to power these mobile gadgets? Jiko Power is trying to address this problem. ‘Jiko’ in Swahili means a cookstove, while ‘Power’ essentially connotes the electrical power derived from the heat generated from the firewood that is used in the stove.
A farmer in Kenya is reaping massive benefits from solar-enhanced dairy-farming. In order to boost production, Willy Kirwa, a dairy farmer located in Eldoret (Western region of Kenya in the Rift Valley) invested $40,000 USD in a modern state-of-the art solar power system on his 50-acre farm to help in lighting and processing of milk.
COP22 ended last week in high optimism that leaders will continue to invest in initiatives and actions that help avert the global warming crisis. This includes starting to review 'nationally determined contributions' this time by 2020 and investing in more renewable projects. Developing countries pledged to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 while developed countries reiterated their commitment to funding these initiatives.
John A. Conklin is the president and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies, Inc., located in Maryland, USA. Conklin is overseeing the development of one of the world’s leading electricity-generating technologies for glass and flexible plastic that has the promise to turn tall towers and skyscrapers into power generators. Angela McClowry from Cleanleap, recently interviewed John to discuss clean solar PV panels and their role in a cleanleap.