Compiled by Roger Lilley –
Solar PV solution for ZSE
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) recently commissioned a 40 kVA solar power plant to ensure that its trading servers remain continually operational. Zimbabwe relies heavily on imported power from Zambia, South Africa and Mozambique, because of technical problems at its own generating plant. The country suffers frequent power outages caused by problems at the Hwange thermal power station, and limited supply from hydroelectric power plants on the Zambezi River. ZSE uses diesel power generators when electricity is unavailable. The solar plant offers a cheaper and more environmentally friendly strategy.
Mobile messaging service to improve customer experience
Nigeria’s power distribution company, Ikeja Electric, has unveiled a mobile messaging service to address customers complaints and offer 24-hour customer support. The company says the service, which is based on the popular WhatsApp platform, gives its customers a simple two-way communication channel with the service provider. The service makes it possible for customers to get their account details, check and pay bills, confirm payments, report faults and complaints and order a prepaid electricity meter. The company says the new service will improve customer service and satisfaction.
Solar-powered water desalination system
Kenyans who live in the eastern part of the country will soon be provided with clean potable water from a solar-powered desalination system. GivePower, the NPO providing the solution, says the system will supply the community with up to 70 kl of high-quality water a day. The equipment, which is built into standard shipping containers, is powered by a small solar PV off-grid power plant and includes a battery-based energy storage to keep the unit running after sunset. A similar project was installed in Kiunga, near the border with Somalia.
African minigrids report
The first-ever report on the use and effectiveness of minigrids in Africa was published recently by the Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA). This measure of the industry’s performance, which was conducted by means of a comprehensive collection of data from 12 countries and 28 companies, reveals that minigrids offer more a reliable distribution of electricity than the national grid does, with levels of service exceeding 99%. The CEO of AMDA, Aaron Leopold, says that Africa’s minigrid sector has the potential to transform rural communities. The report will be updated regularly.
Solar project earmarked for N’Djamena
The capital city of Chad, N’Djamena, is set to receive a 200 MW solar PV power plant, enhanced by a battery-based energy storage system. The plant is to be built, operated and maintained by Alcaal Group, an Argentine conglomerate, which recently signed an MoU with Chad’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Energy. Very few Chadians have access to a reliable source of energy. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Chad had an installed solar capacity of 1 MW at the end of 2019.
Millions spent on power projects in Uganda
Uganda’s power distribution company, Umeme, is building two major power projects in the Mbale district. These two projects, which are expected to cost US$15,2-million, are expected to increase the Mbale Umeme district’s electricity supply from 20 to 61 MW. The projects involve a 125 km 33 kV line to evacuate power from the 16,5 MW Siti 2 hydroelectric power project; the construction of a switching station and plant house at Umeme’s Mbale existing substation; and a set of capacitor banks to stabilise power to the Mbale industrial area.
To demonstrate productive use of energy
A German university, TH Köln, wants to demonstrate that a solar system would not only improve the local water, electricity and food supply, but also strengthen the rural economy and provide a profitable business model for local investors. This first solar system will generate between 15 and 20 kW of power and will operate a groundwater pump with drinking water treatment for irrigation. Productive uses of energy includes new business ideas such as battery rental, cold storage for agricultural products, charging mobile devices; and e-mopeds for taxi and delivery services.
Paying for electricity with loyalty points
Kenyans can now pay for the electricity they consume with Bonga points. Bonga is mobile operator Safaricom’s loyalty scheme. It allows its customers to accumulate points based on their usage of services on its network. Working with Safaricom, Kenya Power’s customers can now purchase electricity tokens with their Bonga points. This helps customers by providing them with an alternative wallet from which to pay for electricity, thus providing relief to households facing pressure from suppressed incomes due to the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Solar module production line in Egypt
Spanish automation systems manufacturer Mondragon Assembly Group has announced that it has supplied and commissioned a 100 MW PV module production line in Cairo. The project was launched in the last quarter of 2019 on behalf of Teriak Industrial Group which seeks to be a key player in clean energy production. The newly installed line allows Teriak to produce a variety of solar modules ranging from bifacial half-cut glass-glass panels to standard high efficiency mono PERC panels. This is Mondragon’s second line in Egypt and eighth in the region.