In my previous blog post, we discussed the potential and need to drive the adoption of hybrid solar energy systems to empower remote communities in developing nations with reliable access to electricity.
In this blog, I will focus on some communities who have successfully implemented such hybrid solar energy systems.
Mali is a landlocked country in Western Africa, and suffers from acute electricity shortage. Although a number of generation plants are planned, most of these plants will only start generating after 2017 due to constraints. However, Ouelessebougou city in the Koulikoro region of the country decided to take matters in their own hands to assuage this issue. The city used two diesel generators that generated 440 kilowatts of electricity to power a water pumping station and scores of surrounding households. To reduce their reliance on costly diesel and increase power generation capacity, the city invested in a 216-kilowatt solar energy system.
The results were remarkable as the city managed to reduce their reliance on diesel generators by 75%.
In another example, previously discussed in the blog here, a herding community in Qinghai in China received solar panels thanks to a nonprofit’s efforts. Before solar, their children were unable to read after dusk. These yak herding families now have electricity after night falls, which enables their children to spend time with books, learn to use computers and watch television. Solar panels have also powered local schools, which previously had no electricity and felt like “prisons,” according to a village leader. The yak herders in Qinghai are now sending their children to school in greater numbers – instead of out to the fields to work. “The solar panels have given our children new eyes,” a director of a local school told the China Daily. “Before, they had no way of knowing anything about the outside world that wasn’t in their text books.”
Availability of diversified energy solutions can go hand-in-hand with new approaches to energy development, and offer the flexibility to suit a community’s specific needs. All we need is the will and determination to make it a reality.