UK solar joins with EU and UN to electrify Eritrea

A UK solar energy company has partnered with the EU and the UN to improve energy access for remote communities in Eritrea. Solarcentury has been selected to design and build two mini-grids […]

By Jonny Bairstow

A UK solar energy company has partnered with the EU and the UN to improve energy access for remote communities in Eritrea.

Solarcentury has been selected to design and build two mini-grids using solar panels and lithium batteries to power the villages of Areza and Maidma in the East African nation.

They currently have no grid power so use small diesel generators –  these are environmentally damaging and economically costly to run, providing a limited and intermittent power supply.

The €5.7 million (£5m) contract will showcase the use of solar hybrid power systems to provide grid quality renewable power to 40,000 ‘off-grid’ people and businesses.

The company hopes this will provide a model for rural electrification across Africa.

Dr Daniel Davies, Director of Hybrid Power Systems at Solarcentury said: “Solar power and energy storage technologies are increasingly the most cost-effective way to deliver clean reliable power to areas remote from the grid.

“This exciting project builds on the work we have done elsewhere in Africa and will demonstrate the amazing potential for solar to provide low-cost reliable power in isolated areas.”

The project is scheduled for completion in early 2018.

The wider project to improve energy access across the continent is funded by the EU – €8 million (£7m), Eritrea – €1.9 million (£1.7m) and the UN Development Programme – €1.9 million (£1.7m).

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