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close this bookSustainable Energy News - No. 21 - Newsletter for International Network for Sustainable Energy - GEF - Theme (INFORSE, 1998, 16 pages)
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Workshop set key solar priorities

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".

(*) FWD is Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination, AFRBPREN is African Energy Policy Research Network.

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, AFRE-PREN/FWD, in conjunction with SEI, 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.

PV Lantern. Photo: NAPS France.

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/INFORSE East & Southern Africa,
P.O. Box 30979, Nairobi, Kenya.
Ph: +254-2-566032, fax: +254-2-740524