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Below is an article written on African P.V kindly written by one of our readers.

Renewable energy technologies (RETs) provide attractive environmentally sound technology options for Africa ’s telecom and electricity industry. 

RETs could offset a significant proportion of foreign exchange that is used for importing oil for electricity generation in most countries.

GAZTEC WEST AFRICA solar products provide highly reliable remote power for distributed telecommunication applications.

Africa ‘s renewable energy potential is well-known. The problem is that it’s mostly well-known to people living outside the continent, therefore increasing awareness of renewable energy technology among the African people is vital.

We believe strongly that Africa , which has remained at the bottom of the Human Development Index for centuries, will make a radical turn for the best when our world distinctly enters the Solar Age. The continent will be propelled into the First World by her comparative advantage in the supra-abundance of Solar Energy.

GAZTEC WEST AFRICA solutions provide a competitive alternative to pure diesel systems that are increasingly under cost pressures due to rising fossil fuel costs, frequent servicing requirements and problems associated with increasing CO2 emissions. Our solar energy systems are containerized and rapidly deployable. Most telecommunications applications involve HYBRID SYSTEMS. Depending on the application, the systems can be configured with a mix of solar, wind, battery, fuel cell, diesel and other power sources.

Our MOBILE SYSTEMS can be transported by air, sea or road and are fitted with extensive SunEnergy remote monitoring and control features. Traditional biomass energy use has serious environmental drawbacks. The
indoor air pollution from unvented biofuel cooking stoves is a major contributor to respiratory illnesses in highland areas of sub-Saharan Africa .

The renewable energy resource potential in Africa has not been fully exploited, mainly due to the limited policy interest and investment levels.

In addition, The second important development that has increased interest in renewables in the region is the recurrent crises faced by most power utilities in the region. For example, in year 2000 alone, Ethiopia Kenya, Malawi , Nigeria and Tanzania , Ivory Coast 2010 faced unprecedented power rationing which adversely affected their economies. The rapid development of renewables is often mentioned as an important response option for addressing the power problems faced by the region.

Target  Markets are:

At the community level: vaccine refrigeration, water pumping, purification and rural electrification. On the industrial scale, solar energy is used for pre-heating boiler water for industrial use and power generation,detoxification, municipal water heating, telecommunications, and, more recently, transportation (solar cars) one of the main obstacle to implementing renewable energy projects is often not the technical feasibility of these projects but the absence of low-cost, long-term financing

Governments and developments banks ,private enterprises must therefore seek creative ways of financing RETs projects. The challenge of financing projects for RETs is to develop models that can provide these technologies to consumers (including the very poor) at affordable prices while ensuring that the industry remains sustainable .

Banking institutions normally lay down strict conditions for RETs investors and this deters potential users. Conditions required included a feasibility study conducted at the applicant’s expense, due to the limited knowledge on renewables by banks. In addition, the banks required land titles as collateral, portforlios of project sponsors and managers, data on past and current operations, approximate value of existing investment, a valuation report, raw material procurement plans, and the marketing strategy for the finished product .

Priority should be given to the establishment of innovative and sustainable financing programmes for renewable energy technologies. This may range from the creation of a international Fund for renewable energy projects .

In order to increase access to loans, banks should find alternatives to stringent requirements e.g. the collateral requirements. In addition small credit institutions (micro-finance institutions) could provide financing for RETs investors and users at affordable and accessible terms. Small-credit institutions are crucial in ensuring continuity when external support ceases .

Solar energy is a kind of cheap energy source for Africa , clean, green, free, without pollution or damage to the environment.

Electrifying the rural areas poses great challenges for African governments. Remote and scattered, rural homes, which are unlike homes in the urban areas, are costly and often impractical to connect to the main electricity grid. But stand-alone sources of power, such as solar energy, wind energy and power from mini-hydro generators, can help to fill the gap of remote and scattered, rural homes. In Africa solar power, which is clean and renewable, fits the demands.The sun is free and inexhaustible.

Renewable energy technologies have an important role to play in Africa ’s energy sector. With the right approach, the renewable energy industry in

Africa can become a major player in the energy sector, and meet the energy needs of a significant proportion of the population. Renewable energy technologies can play a major role in national development in terms of job creation and income generation as well as providing an environmentally sound energy service. Aggressive lobbying for renewables at national,regional and sub-regional levels is required.

Renewables can play complementary roles to large-scale conventional energy technologies. For example, RETs can be important alternatives for power generation in many drought-prone countries, when the conventional electricity sector (largely hydro-based) experiences deficits.

The social and environmental benefits of solar power are significant and will be vital to improving Ivory coast ‘s energy security as well as teaching why it’s important to value and protect its surroundings.

Kone Mohammad 

DG

GAZTEC WEST AFRICA

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