Solar energy solving the electric power crisis in Africapowernsun
Electric Power scenario in Africa:
Africa despite of being a continent with abundant natural resources, has always suffered from various threats such as terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, epidemic and countless other problems. One of the biggest threat that Africa faces in this era of technological and industrial revolution is Power Shortage. Millions of residents in Africa are still refused the right of electricity. This power shortage is directly affecting the lives of the residents and the development of the African countries. Even though Africa has ample oil & gas resources, lack of funds for generation, transmission and distribution has made electricity almost inaccessible for African population. The most important reason is the unavailability of grids.
Millions of Africans suffer day-long power outages throughout the year, out of which most of the population being the poor residents who cannot bear the expenses for alternate source of power.
The above chart shows the power outage of the African countries in a year. Most of these countries being Sub-Saharan countries. Nigeria has the worst power outages and blackouts among all the other countries. Nigeria faces 4600 hours of blackouts in a year, which almost counts to half of the hours in a year. So, technically Nigeria is in darkness for half the year. The plight of the people living in such a situation is unimaginable.
The lack of proper gird for Transmission and Distribution has created a surge to opt for minigrids by many Electricity service providing companies. Minigrids have created a revolution in the Power sector of Africa. Countless number of companies are investing in developing Minigrids in Africa. This will be a permanent solution to the power shortage and misery of the people in Africa. The minigrids being developed, the next concern that must be considered is, how to energize the grids? Depending on conventional power to energize the grids is impossible at this point of time, as construction of Thermal Power stations cannot be implemented in near future considering the economic and political scenario of African countries. This is where the role of Renewable energy comes into the scene.
Feasibility Of Renewable Energy In Africa
As we discussed earlier, Africa is rich in natural resources. But the factors that might affect the implementation of renewable energy technology will be mostly financial and technological shortcomings of the countries. Renewable energy technologies like Wind and Nuclear require umpteen number of considerations before being implemented. The simple and powerful solution to this is Solar Energy.
Solar Energy – The Solution
Solar energy systems are easy to install and have low maintenance. They also have exceptionally long lifetime of up-to 25 years. All the parts of the system being static, the longevity of the system is more.
Africa is already being powered by PV-Diesel hybrid since a long time. We can say that PV-Diesel hybrid was the only solution that most of the African countries had, because of the lack of grids. Nigeria has the highest usage of PV-Diesel hybrids, while other Sub-Saharan countries also have decent usage of PV-Diesel hybrid systems. With Africa having good oil resources, availability of diesel for the systems was not difficult. The only shortcoming of the systems was the pollution caused by them. But when considering the misery of the people without electricity, pollution did not seem to be a factor of hinderance. PV-diesel system has an amazingly simple design, it consists of Solar panels, Inverter, Diesel generator and a Fuel save controller. It can be installed anywhere of power necessity. This made the African population opt PV-Diesel hybrid technology as their primary power source.
The microgrids being developed widely in Africa currently, the PV-Diesel hybrid technology might take a step back in the future. But Africa might have to depend on this technology till the minigrids are fully operational and can meet the whole power demand.
We hope that the minigrids energized by Solar PV systems will solve the electricity crisis in Africa permanently. Fingers Crossed…..