Sub-Saharan Africa suffers frequent and early failures with publicly owned solar photovoltaic (PV) power applications, such as those used for water pumping, health care and area lighting. The high failure rate reflects price pressure in the tendering process, the absence of reliable ground-based data, and misuse of irradiation maps. Consequently, this has led to economic losses and mistrust in PV technology.
Meanwhile, PV installation in many rural areas has become increasingly hazardous because of epidemics and socio-economic turbulence. In turn, such challenges increase the difficulty of improving healthcare and stimulating economic activities through renewable energy investments.
The African Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA), with the help of the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is promoting online tools to embed knowledge that can facilitate universal energy access, even in difficult conditions. These enable sizing optimization and remote performance monitoring of PV systems, contributing to improved lifetime performance.
IRENA’s webinar with AREA and the JRC presented methods to:
- disseminate information to local energy entrepreneurs on PVGis software for Africa;
- establish a PV module testing laboratory;
- perform financial calculations for minigrids and standalone PV systems; and
- assess the renewable energy potential in a given area.
To find the discussion, presentations and recording, please visit the IRENA Community here