Solar power is changing lives in Africa

8447103163 c2203f7416 zThe Mashaba project in southern Zimbabwe has a 99 KW mini-grid to power 2 irrigation schemes, 2 business centres, 1 school and 1 clinic. (Image source: Activ Solar/Flickr)In June 2018, Bouake, the second largest city of Cote d’Ivoire, suffered its first-ever shutdown of domestic water supply

The country’s dammed lake, which supplies 70 per cent of the city’s water supply, completely ran dry. According to many experts, this was yet-again another consequence of climate change.

As a result of the drought, the people of Cote d’Ivoire went through extraordinary hardships affecting everything in their daily life, from acquiring clean drinking water and cooking to basic hygiene. The story of Bouake is one of many currently unfolding in Africa, where climate change has consequences of a magnitude never-seen-before globally.

To battle climate change, keep up with their pace of development and ensure food security, some countries, like Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe, have resorted to solar energy as a solution.

A growing body of research from some of the world’s most renowned energy experts and researchers, has demonstrated in a crystal clear fashion that no other energy source, from hydro to wind, can provide power and have an impact as sustainably, reliably, and efficiently as solar.

Solarplaza, a solar event organiser, decided to highlight the life-changing potential of solar power by publishing “Africa Solar Impact Cases”, an extensive report focusing on a small number of impact cases across the three main areas of solar development in Africa: utility-scale, mini-grid/microgrid and off-grid.

One of those cases is the Mashaba project, which is a small village in southern Zimbabwe that installed a 99 kW mini-grid to power 2 irrigation schemes, 2 business centres, 1 school and 1 clinic.

Mpokiseng Moyo, a farmer and mother of three, has been able to harvest 15 tonnes of wheat with this new solar system, compared to barely one tonne before the mini-grid was installed. This way the devastating consequences of droughts-inherent to the region, but worsened by the effect of climate change can be mitigated.

“Before being connected to the solar grid, we irrigated our crops using diesel pumps and travelled as far as Gwanda (more than 100km away) to buy diesel for the pumps. The pumps broke down many times, affecting productivity. But with solar energy we are able to farm throughout the year without any hassles,” Moyo said.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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