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.
Intasave, a not-for-profit and environmental enterprise is planning to use scalable nanogrid solar power systems to bring clean, reliable and affordable power to about 500 communities and 250,000 people in Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique within three years. After raising the initial US$100,000 through crowdfunding, construction of the hubs is already underway in villages in Kenya.
Smallholder farming is primarily characterized by differentially low incomes, in particular the poor sub-Saharan African farmers. Closely tied to this are the high proportion of farmers income spent on their energy needs, both at the domestic and crop-production level. There is essentially a correlation between income levels and access to clean modern energy. In Kenya, the energy situation could be getting better, with a social enterprise that invests in an end-to-end solution for smallholder farmers, Takamoto Biogas is tackling the fundamental global problems of deforestation and climate change.
The World Banks off grid solar initiative, Lighting Global, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have recently launched the third publication of its type – an in depth analysis of the trends for 2016 global off grid solar power market. The report examines a relatively new market and provides valuable insights into the rapid technological changes to ensure low cost, clean electricity for all. The report highlights the key driving concern that over 1.2 billion people lack access to the power grid, which means they spend around $27 billion on expensive fossil fuel based technology.
As the global population progresses towards 8.5 billion by 2030, the amount of urban solid waste is budding even faster than the rate of urbanization. In Kenya, solid waste is a precursor to several environmental and health challenges, ranging from clogged drainage and sewers, waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhea, increased upper respiratory diseases from open burning of the garbage, to malaria. Collection and disposal systems are inefficient and are not environmentally-friendly.
The World Banks Lighting Global Program, Dalberg Advisors and GOGLA (Global Off Grid Lighting Association) have launched number four of its bi-annual publication – an in-depth analysis of the trends of the global off grid solar power market. The report examines an expanding market that is helping developing countries make a 'cleanleap' from fossil fuel based electricity to using renewable energy from the sun.
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.