Sustainable Energy Research Group (SERG) is leading an exemplary international project to provide sustainable electricity supply to rural communities in Africa. The aim of the project is to establish and implement replicable, off-grid electricity generation that promotes development in rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The 5 year project known as “Replication of Rural Decentralised off-grid Electricity Generation through Technology and Business Innovation”, in short is Energy for Development (E4D) Network, is a multi-institutional research programme, funded by the Research Councils United Kingdom (UK) and the UK’s Government’s Department of International Development.
E4D engineers, local contractors and villagers developed a 13.5kWp photovoltaic solar plant and mini grid in Kitonyoni, Makueni County. The plant aims at benefiting up to 3000 local people including schools, health centers, churches and 40 businesses. This has facilitated provision of services such as food refrigeration, lighting, phone and battery charging facilities across the village.
The solar plant worth KES286.6m (£2.6 million) project is operated and maintained by the local Co-operative, creating employment and providing economic revenue as well as social and humanitarian benefits to the local population. Since Makueni County has inadequate water supply, the engineers developed a solar canopy of the PV system to help in collecting water which can later be sold to the community through the cooperative throughout the year.
In 2013, E4D celebrated the first year of operation of the project which has undoubtedly transformed the trading centre, the lives of the villagers and has provided the research team a full year of data to appraise system performance, energy demand and relate to overall project replication. The project is now a beacon in Africa having many local and international visitors such as from Japan, Germany, UK, Zambia, the World Bank and other funding agencies.
Source: Energy for Development