|Sustainable Energy News - No. 21 May 1998 (INFORSE, 1998, 20 p.)|
By S. Karekezi, L. Majoro and T. Ranja
With participants from 9 Eastern and Southern African countries, the renewable energy training workshop in April in Nairobi found key priorities for applied research on photovoltaics and solar water heaters.
AFREPREN/FWD(*) the INFORSE coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa, in conjunction with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), is conducting a regional study under the "Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) Applied Research and Training Program for Eastern and Southern Africa ".
The objective of the RETs Applied Research study is to address technical barriers and related constraints (e.g., management, operational, etc.) to further expansion of the solar market in Eastern and Southern Africa by assessing initiatives that can lower the costs and enhance the performance of solar energy use. This will be done through applied research on key subject areas of system sizing, specifications, assessments, selection, siting, and clustering, as well as low-cost assembly and manufacturing techniques. The research study will apply reverse engineering approaches based on a detailed assessment of local manufacturing, assembly, operational, and maintenance capabilities.
On April 6-10, 1998, AFREPREN/FWD, in conjunction with SKI, conducted a Renewable Energy Technologies Regional Training Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya as part of the regional study. The workshop brought together a wide range of participants that included representatives of NGOs, governments, RETs/solar equipment distributors, field technicians, manufacturers, utilities, and, to a lesser extent, researchers and field extension workers.
The 5-day Workshop covered:
· Introduction of participants to key renewable-energy technologies;
· Dissemination of the findings and conclusions of the recently concluded study entitled "Renewable Energy Technologies: Research for Dissemination and Implementation":
· Review of the status and technical challenges facing the development of solar PV technologies in Eastern and Southern Africa;
· Discussions on the activities of the RETs project and insights on how the activities can be refined for maximum impact; and,
· Introduction of INFORSE: past, present, and future activities, both globally and in the region.
Participants in the Workshop were from Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Workshop identified the following as key priority issues for applied research on photovoltaics and solar water heaters:
· Training on low-cost assembly and manufacturing techniques.
· Development of locally made and cheap solar energy tracking systems.
· Compilation of best regional practices/manual for system sizing and specification.
· Compilation of case examples from country testing centers for solar energy technologies.
(*) FWD is Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination, AFREPREN is African Energy Policy Research Network.
FWD/INFORSE East & Southern Africa,
P.O.Box 30979, Nairobi, Kenya
Ph: +254-2-566032, fax: +254-2-740524
Rotary Clubs and Sunstove Organisation actively disseminating solar cookers.
Based on contacts with Solar Cookers International and active members, several local Rotary clubs have taken up the dissemination of solar cookers and solar baking ovens. While the solar cookers are mainly used to reduce smoke and firewood consumption in family kitchens, the solar ovens are used in families as well as in small bakeries. Grants, primarily from US based Rotary clubs, have helped fund solar-cooker dissemination in Kenya, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and in several Latin American countries.
The East Nairobi Rotary Club has spearheaded a project to build efficient, durable, and inexpensive solar cookers, as well as to train villagers in their use. The long-term goal of the project is to create small, local industries to produce and market the cookers, thereby creating local employment. Other cookers have been bought from the non-profit Sunstove Organization in South Africa. This organization has sold thousands of cookers to Rotary and other private organizations at cost. The cookers are then resold for about US$ 25 each, or they are given to local users in Africa and in Latin America.
- Solar Cookers International, 1919 21th Street
Sacramento, California 95814, USA.
- Sunstove Organization, PO Box 21960,
Crystal Park 1515, South Africa
Source: The Rotarian (Magazine)