The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization that helps countries move to more sustainable energy options. The Agency also provides a focal point for governments from around the world to work together and share information on clean tech best practice. IRENA recently released a policy brief Solar Pumping for Irrigation: Improving livelihoods and sustainability, this brief forms part of a broader agenda focused on renewable energy opportunities in the agriculture and water sector.
Another innovation with regard to solar energy category was that of solar roofing tiles presented by Strauss Energy. Strauss is into the business of incorporating solar cells - called Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) into building materials such as tiles. The solar tile is either made of a plastic material or mixture of plastic and ceramic components, with solar cells being overlayed on top. This model seeks to combine both the advantages of house roofing and power generation. The solar cells work in the normal way by converting sun’s energy into power which is then channeled to power devices at home, office or factory.
Right this minute; a woman somewhere in rural sub-Saharan Africa is on a long trek. Not because she’s part of a nomadic tribe or visiting a neighbouring village but because she has to do something that many of us with modern conveniences take for granted – cook for her family. This woman represents the reality of about 3 billion of the world’s population who cook meals over an open fire everyday. People who just need an easier way to get things done. Showcased in the Network’s Solutions Database along with other low-tech projects, the Ezy stove does just that.
Kenya is a first in many a renewable energy innovation. The country houses a number of solar-energy innovations that touch on, among other sectors, agriculture and the retail sector. Agriculture, being the backbone of the Kenyan economy, and an employer of 75% or thereabouts of the entire country’s workforce, remains an important sector in the country. The IEA observes that by 2050, solar energy could be the top source of electricity, generating up to 16% of the world's electricity - Kenya is certainly not an exception to these statistics.
Living off the grid, without access to stable electricity, carries consequences beyond simply not being able to switch on the lights at night. In hospitals and clinics across developing regions, the inability to rely on electricity — or a complete lack thereof — translates into profound shortcomings in the provision of life-saving treatments. William Steel interviewed Julia Römer for Cleanleap, Julia co-founded Coolar in 2014, with the goal to develop a better solution for off-grid refrigeration of medical supplies.
Three young innovators in Kenya have developed an award winning technology that harvests clean drinking water from the air, targeted at rural communities living in dry regions, and communities in urban areas lacking access to clean water. The innovation dubbed Majik Water is powered by solar energy and utilizes sponge like non toxic desiccant materials to generate water from the air.
One of the most exciting ventures a country and its cities can undergo is that of modernizing and redeveloping its buildings. The progress made is almost always positive, and literally can give cities a new face. Major infrastructure projects in Vietnam are not so slowly transforming the city for the better, upgrading various aspects ranging from transportation to water treatment and infrastructure.
In Northern Upper East Ghana, a water conservation technology is enabling about 400 smallholder farmers from 10 communities to farm in dry seasons. As a result they are now getting at least two crop seasons annually as opposed to one, after implementing the PAVE irrigation Technology which harvests flood and rain water, and stores it in underground aquifers where it lasts for up to 180 days.
In Rwanda, a ‘Pico-hydro’ refers to a power system with a capacity less than 50kW. Their advantage over other power systems is their cost-effectiveness and simplicity, and come in different designs, planning and installation processes. It is an economical source of power that has proven useful in delivering clean energy to some of the world’s poorest and most remote places.
Whether they are consumed as grains or flour they are always products in high demand in Africa - these being cereals such maize, sorghum, millet and wheat. One of the issues with these widely consumed crops is when people want to grind them and consume them as flour, with most remote areas lacking access to electricity and therefore use expensive fossil fuel to run milling machines.
Better housing is one of the key indicators of the economic development, but most developing countries still have a challenge to secure clean homes for their habitants. Dirt floors are often responsible up to 80 percent of diseases. In most cases, parasites live in soil in form of feces and bacteria that can be contagious by either absorption or a simple contact. EarthEnable has introduced a solution to all those problems.
The Croton tree, which is commonly known as Mukinduri in Eastern and Central part of Kenya, is now a good known source of biofuels and that is being practiced. It grows in a challenging environment and unlike jatropha and palm, it won't bring food and fuel competition. It has no chemical additives and burns cleaner than traditional diesel fuel, with no sulfuric content. It can save our environment from carbon emissions and help in better land usage.
Many companies use traditional methods to measure the impact of solar power investments such as quoting the many dollars invested, number of people using their kits and areas covered by their product, which are inadequate tools for measuring social impact for solar power investments if we have to get it right. Traditional approaches of gathering data are not only expensive, take time to give results and complicated to use, but are also not helpful in terms of boosting solar power funding. The lean data approach proposed by Acumen could, not only bridge solar power funding gaps in developing worlds, but will also help companies to understand emerging markets.
Research undertaken by Greentech Media (GTM) predicts that over the next five years, the global solar market will demonstrate a cumulative average growth rate of around 8%, with emerging economies including India and Latin America leading the progress.