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 ".
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
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,
30979, Nairobi, Kenya
Ph: +254-2-566032, fax: