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2011 edition

2011 Edition
Best practises of the Alliance
for Rural Electri cation
what renewable energy can achieve in developing countries
Alliance for
Electrif cation
The challenge
In 2010, 130 years after Thomas Edison patented a system for electricity distribution, more than
1.4 billion people do not have access to modern energy services.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, only
31% of the population has access to electricity, with only 2-5% in many rural areas. Electrical in-
frastructure remains largely centralised; yet grid extensions to remote regions is far too expensive
as populations are dispersed and cannot afford to nance the connection fees upfront.
Although most developing countries have initiated and/or accelerated rural electrication pro-
grammes, progress has often been hampered while not living up to political promises. Without
substantial political drive to enhance the living standards of rural areas, progress will remain
stied. In fact, despite the needs, political support is limited. The nancial and technical capac-
ity needed to implement large-scale operations is also sincerely lacking as utilities have limited
motivation to extend services to unprotable customers. The International Energy Agency (IEA)
estimates that developing and transition countries together have investment requirements in their
energy sectors of US$9.6 trillion in the period 2001 to 2030. On current growth and development
assistance trajectories, this gure is insurmountable. Hence, it is vital that the limited nancial
resources that are available are used in the most effective way and propagate private investment.
Renewable Energies
The Alliance for Rural Electrication (ARE) represents companies and organisations who share
the view that rural communities in developing countries and have an alternative to traditional
electrication and conventional energies. We believe that renewable energy technologies, uti-
lised in off-grid and mini-grid power systems, can sustainably meet the energy needs of rural
communities at an affordable price.
For decades, accessing electricity in developing countries has been fostered through the use of
fossil fuels (gensets) and by means of extending the electricity grid.
Due to low potential electricity demand and economic development in these areas, grid exten-
sion is often not a cost competitive option. A study of the World Bank on rural electrication
programs placed the average cost of grid extension per km at between $8,000 and $10,000,
rising to around $22,000 in difcult terrains. Many projects have demonstrated that decentral-
ised renewables are a more reliable electricity resource than grid connectivity due to the over-
stretched and unreliable capacity of central systems.
The volatility of oil prices and both local and global environmental constraints, together with
rising world fossil fuel demand calls into serious question the sustainability of gensets and in-
creases the need to nd alternative, efcient energy solutions. Furthermore, the elevated opera-
tion and maintenance costs, the geographical difculties of fuel delivery, and the environmental
and noise pollution present further disadvantages to the exclusive use of diesel-based systems.
In contrast, the low operation and maintenance costs of renewable energy power systems offset
the initial capital costs, which makes them more efcient and cost competitive solutions. Re-
newable solutions offer energy independence and security as well as the inherent environmental
benets of using clean and sustainable solutions.
All gures are from the International Energy Agencys 2010 World Outlook Report
Another central issue is the role of the private sector. ARE believes that private companies can
become a key driver in the eld of rural electrication. Many companies have now demonstrated
their capabilities by implementing successful rural renewable energy projects throughout the
world. However, a crucial precondition is an enabling legal and nancial framework.
The renewable energy industry grows increasingly interested in opportunities within developing
countries. ARE is the visible expression of this trend, serving as an international platform for shar-
ing the knowledge and experience of the private sector. It develops technological and nancial
solutions which are made available for policy makers and other actors in the eld of rural electri-
cation. Development policy is increasingly discovering the benets of renewable technologies and
acknowledging that the private sector has an important role to play. Now this has to be translated
into concrete policies, which boost private sector driven off-grid renewable rural electrication.
Our Best Practises
This publication highlights case studies from our members that demonstrate their activities in
the eld and exhibit replicable solutions. These examples cover a wide range of technologies,
geographical locations, nancial support mechanisms, and consumer tariff schemes.
These projects show the diversity and the potential of renewable energy solutions in developing
countries. Reliable, cost effective and sustainable energy solutions exist and are being imple-
mented every day worldwide. Access to energy is a prerequisite for development, not a result.
Renewables can provide enough sustainable, reliable, clean electricity to support the creation of
local business in large population areas, whilst also being able to reach the most dispersed rural
communities. Renewables can also provide unlimited solutions for accessing the water needed
for irrigation and sanitation, in places that have consistently been deprived of this right, and at
the same time, offer new opportunities for public health and education. Today, when the right
conditions are put in place, the technology to provide energy for everyone exists. When renewable
energy technologies are politically supported they can reach people faster and achieve more than
any other technology or master plan, in addition to preserving the current state of our ecosystem.
This brochure not only highlights successful projects, but demonstrates what can be achieved.
Origin countries of ARE members
Countries where the case studies have been realised
Page 4 Bergey Wind Power:
Delivering small wind turbines to 20 households in Tibet, China
Page 5 Eauxwell Nigeria Limited:
Solar water pumping supplies potable water to 653 communities across Nigeria
Page 6 Fondazione Madre Agnese Manzoni:
Lights in every household in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Page 7 FortisWind Energy: Small wind turbines powers telecommunications in Madagascar
Page 8 Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy ISE: PV system technology in Ecuador and Peru
Page 9 Innovation, Energy, Development (IED):
GEOSIM: A GIS based tool for rural electrication maximizes impact
on socio-economic development in 12 Asian and African countries
Page 10 KXN: 551 PV refrigerators for healthcare in Nigeria
Page 11 Outback Power: Delivering solar energy to Apolima community in Samoa
Page 12 Phaesun GmbH: Rural Electrication in Mozambique
Page 13 Q-Cells: Solar energy schools in Rema, Ethiopia
Page 14 Renac: Project TREE (Transfer Renewable Energy & Efciency) - Capacity buildings
for renewable energy and energy efciency technologies in developing countries
Page 15 Rural Energy Foundation (REF): Electricity for 500,000 through Solar. Now! Network
Page 16 SMA Solar Technology: Largest RE hybrid system on Vaitupu, Tuvalu
Page 17 Solarmate: Solar Power for an African Mission Station in Nigeria
Page 18 SolarWorld: 7000 homes receive clean PV-based renewable energy in China
Page 19 Sunlabob: Solar Lanterns for 1200 homes in Lao PDR
Page 20 Trama TecnoAmbiantal: PV hybrid energy powers a village of 19 homes in Ecuador
Page 21 The Wind Factory: Installation of a Wind-diesel Hybrid system in Ilakaka, Madagascar
The Challenge
Naqu is a high-altitude county located in the north of Tibet plateau, 4,200 meters above the sea
level. Households there are scattered and facing limited access to electricity due to unfeasible grid
extension and low energy demands.
Opportunities for Renewables
This region of Tibet has excellent renewable energy
(RE) resources. The annual average wind speed
there is 5.1m/s at 10m above the surface of the
earth and the annual solar radiation quantity is over
6600 MJ/m2. Local government takes RE as a solu-
tion for electrication.
Renewable Solution
After assessment, a wind/solar hybrid power station of
15 kW wind system (10kW out of BBWC XL.10) and
5kW solar was developed. This hybrid system could
produce ~80 kWh of electricity per day. It is a pilot
project and more and more RE power station will be
established in the foreseeable future.
Project financing
This project was co-nanced by Chinese Ministry of
Science and Technology and Department of Science
and Technology in Tibet. Tibet Solar Energy Research
Institute is the local partner. The total investment is
about RMB 2.3 million. As an assistance project,
there is no need for villagers to pay their bill for the
electrical service.
Project Outcome
Feedback from villagers and the local government
demonstrated their complete satisfaction with the
project. Through clean and reliably electricity, the
living conditions of households have been improved.
Electrication enables about 80 people to get light-
ing, telecom and entertainment services. To ensure
the sustainability of this project, some users have
been trained to maintain these equipments.
Delivering small
wind turbines
to 20 households
in Tibet, China
Company Description
Bergey Windpower Company (BWC),
which is the world leading supplier
of small wind turbines up to 50 kW,
was established in Norman, Okla-
homa, USA in 1977. As a subsidi-
ary of BWC, Beijing Bergey Wind-
power Co., (BBWC) has become
the production and R&D base of
BWC in China.
BWC/BBWC provides complete design, supply, and
installation services for hybrid power system uti-
lizing wind turbines, diesel generators and photo-
Haijiang Wang
Bergey Wind Power
Wind power supply for a village in Naqu,Tibet.
voltaic arrays. Bergey wind turbines have now been
installed in all 50 U.S. states and more than 100
The Challenge
Enwegbara Edwin C.
Tel. +23418180190 Eauxwel l Ni ger i a Li mi t ed
Installation prior to commissioning.
Lack of access to clean water is a predominant problem in many parts of rural Nigeria, compounded by
the fact that grid electricity is lacking in many of such areas. The Government has previously installed
water-pumping systems based on generators, but these have failed due to extremely high maintenance
costs and unreliable components (generating sets).
Opportunities for Renewables
The rural locations generally do not have access to
the grid network. Large open areas in rural Nigeria
with high irradiation present an opportunity for PV
and wind power.
Renewable Solution
Eauxwell drilled new boreholes and retro-tted to
install all the required components. Within each
borehole, the Grundfos SQFlex submersible pumps
(DC-AC pumps) is installed.
Grundfos SQFlex submersible water pumps
1. 16 Nos Sharp 95Wp PV modules
Northern locations
2. 12 Nos SolarWorld 80Wp PV modules
Southern locations
3. Aqualite or Ferrolite Water Treatment Plants
dependent on water quality in region
4. Elevated water storage tanks
5. Water management and supply station
In order to ensure that each installation is utilised
properly, a local technician is hired and trained
by Eauxwell Nigeria Ltd to operate and carry out
minimal maintenance. Periodical maintenance and
monitoring will be carried out.
Project financing
Projects are funded by the Conditional Grant
Scheme in Nigeria, a counterpart fund between
Nigerian Federal and State Governments setup to
meet the Millennium Development Goals. Projects
are conducted in partnership with the United Na-
Project Outcome
Up to 500 people visit each site daily with repeated
visits. Some of the greatest successes are increased
educational opportunities as more children have
time go to school because potable water exists with-
in range of their homes; they do not have to walk
long distances to obtain water daily. There is also a
huge decline in diseases such as cholera and dys-
entery in those communities. People have a better
quality of life and thus better their societies.
Solar water pumping
supplies potable water to 653
communities across Nigeria
Company Description
Eauxwell Nigeria Limited, established in 1987, is the leading water
and waste-water engineering rm in Nigeria. In striving to improve
access to potable water in rural communities, Eauxwell has invested
year after year in off-grid renewable energy solutions. Our wealth of
experience utilizing renewable energy means we are now engaged in
several rural electrication projects in conjunction with numerous
local and international partners.
The Challenge
In the largest part of the territory, it is almost impossible to access lighting for households. The sun
sets from 18.00 pm and rises around 5.30 am, thus most of the population is spending nearly half its
day in the deepest darkness; the resulting consequences are negative impacts on their quality of life,
family life, security, professional activities, education etc.
Opportunities for Renewables
In rural areas, access to diesel is very scarce, thus
photovoltaics represent a real opportunity to devel-
op and deliver a manageable source of electricity.
Renewable Solution
A central shop managed by a trained worker was in-
stalled in each village in the Kimbondo area. Every
shop is equipped with solar panels (with a power capac-
ity between 200 and 500 Wp), power electronics, an
inverter, a battery (with a capacity between 50 and 250
Ah), and a battery charger with a current output of DC
12 V, AC 230. The shop serves various purposes: it can
power a small refrigerator for vaccines, an emergency
telecommunication system and at the same time, re-
charge the lanterns that have been supplied at house-
holds. The lanterns are equipped with LEDs, which of-
fer long life, are resistant to shocks, have a lower energy
consumption, and good light output per watt.
Project financing
The rst two phases of the project focus on the train-
ing of the local technicians (to install and maintain
a PV systems as well as in sales), the installation of
the different systems, and the distributions of the
lamps, which are fully supported by the Founda-
tion. The third phase and the continuation of the
project in the long run (maintenance and sales com-
ponents) are nanced by the users, who will pay
to the technicians each battery recharge and the
replacement or the repair of any component. More-
over, each charging station is designed as a shop
dedicated to the sale of PV components and acces-
sories with the aim of expanding to other villages
without electricity.
Project Outcome
8 small rural communities/villages can benet from
this project, which will total around 1008 house-
holds or almost 8,000 people. The training courses
designed for the technicians are on-going and will
continue. In the rst year, it is expected that the
number of people that will benet from this project
directly or indirectly will be as high as 26,000 peo-
ple. This number could increase dramatically thanks
to the process launched.
Lights for
every household
in Congo, DRC
Company Description
The Fondazione Madre Agnese Manzoni
is a non-prot, recognized by the Ital-
ian Government that develops solidarity
projects. They conceive, realize, and take part in
development projects in the elds of: social and
sanitary welfare, instruction and professional train-
ing, protection and valorisation of nature and the
Prof. Ing. Giovanni Chersola
Fondazione Madre
Agnese Manzoni
Young mothers receiving lanterns for their homes.
environment, technical projects in the eld of en-
ergy and renewable energies, water collection and
distribution, sewage techniques, food, and water
safety etc.
Fortis Alize in Madagascar.
The Challenge
Madagascars electricity supply is mainly
based on diesel generators. Since they are re-
motely located, the operational costs are high.
Also, the local population does not have the
capacity to invest in renewables. An alterna-
tive route is needed.
Opportunities for Renewables
Small wind has high performance in a windy coun-
try such as Madagascar. This means that in hybrid
combination with a diesel genset and a small bat-
tery bank, up to 95% of the diesel costs are saved.
Renewable Solution
The projects purpose is to supply our turbines to
the national telecom industry to power GSM anten-
nas. The hybrid systems we install are based on a
Fortis Alize wind turbine (10kW), a battery bank
and the existing diesel generator.
In some locations, solar PV is added. The greatest
challenge is making these projects sustainable. This
means that in addition to technical solutions, train-
ing the beneciaries is needed, along with a local
service network and continued maintenance.
Project financing
The commercial telecom provider and the Dutch
government nanced the infrastructure, capacity
building, and sales for the turbines.
Project Outcome
It is now relatively cheap to install turbines and to
sell the electricity to rural communities with the
nancing received. Even at some locations where
there is a surplus of electricity at a GSM pole, the
excess can be sold by battery charging for the com-
munity at lower prices.
The lesson which can be drawn from this project is
not to work from the beginning with the bottom of
the pyramid, but somewhere in the middle where
normal commercial operation is possible. Then it is
possible to work with the base from there.
Small wind turbines
in Madagascar
Company Description
Fortis Wind Energy is a manufacturer of small wind
turbines in the Netherlands. The products range
from 1-10 kW and are maintenance free, which
makes them ideal for off grid locations.
Mr. Johan Kuikman
+31(0) 152 190 521
For t i s Wi nd Ener gy
The Challenge
The nancing of off-grid renewable energy technologies (RET) remains a challenge. Financing
instruments such as the Feed-in Tarriff (FiT) regulation in Ecuador would provide a long-term
solution for RET projects, yet the institutional framework along with technical issues on measurement
and monitoring makes the benet of FiT impractical. Technical solutions would certainly support this
regulation and scale-up not only RETs, but also their benets in local rural communities.
Opportunities for Renewables
Todays practices in RETs for off-grid systems in Lat-
in America are quite well known. In order to scale-
up the successful experiences, it is necessary to
bring forward energy policies, legislation and market
conditions. At the local level, supporting the new
stakeholders and especially the village system op-
erators, which are the turn key to provide long-term
solutions of energy services is essential.
Renewable Solution
Stand-alone PV systems, such as Solar Home Systems
(SHSs) and PV-lighting, hybrid PV systems, PV backup
systems (grid-connected).
Project financing
The project DOSBE Development of Electricity
Service Operators in Ecuador and Peru was co--
nanced under the COOPENER action of the Intel-
ligent Energy Europe Programme.
Project Outcome
Within the project, 3 main guidelines have been de-
1. Service models
2. Technical specications for photovoltaic,
wind and hydropower systems
3. Basic methodology for economic evaluation:
PV system
technology in
Ecuador and Peru
Company Description
The group Off-Grid Power Supply at
the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar En-
ergy Systems ISE has experience on
design and evaluation of numerous Hy-
brid PV systems worldwide, principally
on cost-effective and reliable solutions
(small PV appliances, Hybrid PV systems) to sup-
ply remote houses, villages, water desalination sys-
tems, etc.
Furthermore, the group develops system compo-
nents like inverters or charge controllers, energy
management systems that have been developed
and transferred to industry and eld applications.
Brisa Ortiz
+49 (0) 761/4588-5283
Fraunhofer Institute
for Solar Energy ISE
Stand-alone PV system in Ecuador.
The Off-Grid Power Supply team takes into ac-
count other legal, social and economic aspects of
rural electrication such as nancing instruments
and local operation models. The strength lies in the
combination of knowledge gained during more than
twenty ve years of applied research and develop-
ment, and practical experience obtained on site
Opportunities for Renewables
Integrating renewable energy (RE) is a key fac-
tor for optimizing investments and maximizing
the socio-economic impact of rural electrication
projects, but remains very demanding regarding
optimization. The identication of viable projects
for private investors is a main issue to foster the
development of renewables for rural electrica-
Renewable Solution
The GEOSIM tool, using proven technologies, deals
with various RE energy supply options, mini-hydro
and biomass technologies (biogas, gasication,
co-generation) as well as with grid extension and
solar options both stand alone SHS and PV die-
sel hybrid mini-grids. Options are studied either in
isolated mode or grid integrated mode depending
on grid proximity and national regulation laws. In-
dicators for each project are calculated, such as
kWh cost, investment costs, yearly maintenance and
investment expansion requirements.
Project financing
GEOSIM was developed by IED and used in various
projects in already 12 countries. To mention a few,
2 projects are currently on-going:
1. Madagascar: Development of regional electrica-
tion plans (ADER Rural Electrication Develop-
ment Agency),
2. Cambodia: Development of Sustainable Ru-
ral Electrication Plans for Cambodia (SREP)
combining grid extension scenarios with local
renewable energy production, leading on a few
renewable energy feasibility studies (Ministry of
Industry, Mines and Energy of Cambodia).
Project Outcome
The GEOSIM tool is transferred to national institu-
tions in charge of rural electrication by delivering
a user-friendly tool (that requires little specic and
technical knowledge) and includes a strong capac-
ity building phase through training sessions. A list
of viable projects were identied for RE potential in
Cambodia and in 4 regions in Madagascar.
Company Description
Incorporated in 1988; IED is an independent
French consulting and engineering rm, active in
the power sector in more than 30 countries across
Asia, Africa and Europe.
The Challenge
As renewable energy (RE) implementation
phase occurs a few years after the study
phase, the collected data and results become
consequently obsolete; updating the results
of the paper study is difcult with national
planning resources. The challenge lies in de-
veloping national capacity and providing the
planning authorities with a tool that is easy
to update and provides the exibility to run a
number of scenarios.
A GIS based tool for rural
electrication maximizes
impact on socio-economic
development in already
12 Asian and
African countries
Anjali Shanker
Tel. +33 472591320
I nnovat i on, Ener gi e,
Dvel oppement ( I ED)
The Challenge
Kebbi State has a population of 3,630,931 (2005 census), with 617,598 under 5 yrs and infant
mortality 120/1000 live births. Due to the lack of electricity, providing immunizations for infants
against infectious and tropical diseases is difcult. KXN recognized that PV can power these refrig-
erators in order to save lives.
Opportunities for Renewables
High radiation, seasonal roads, unreliable fuel sup-
plies and hard-to-reach areas make PV a suitable
technology for the area. There is a critical need for
highly reliable electricity in order to ensure the in-
tegrity of the cold chain right up to the point of
use. Also, PV-powered water pumping, cyber-cafes,
street lighting etc. Installing and commissioning PV
vaccine fridges at mostly remote off-grid sites are
necessary to support routine immunization. Howev-
er, maintaining system performance technological
and human factors are important.
Renewable Solution
Sun Frost RFVB-134a vaccine refrigerators each pow-
ered by one Kyocera KC125GT-1, 125Wp, polycrystal-
line or 2 Unisolar US-64, 64Wp, thin-lm modules,
two Trojan T-105, 6V, 225Ah (C20) ooded batteries,
with Phocos CML10-2 controllers.
Project financing
The project was nanced through a government sub-
Project Outcome
Since the projects completion:
The number of infants served per refrigerator is now
1,200. The refrigerators supply remote areas with
quality antigens, preserves the integrity of the an-
tigens, reduces walking distance to healthcare fa-
cilities, and addresses the millennium development
goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. Further work will include
user and technician training, long term systems
maintenance and performance monitoring.
551 PV
for healthcare
in Nigeria
KXN was established in 1999.
It is a photovoltaic systems
integrator engaged in supply,
training, installation, mainte-
nance and performance moni-
Anthony O. Ighodaro
Tel. +23418180190
En-route, by camel, between Dakingari and Giro in Suru Local Government Area (LGA),
Kebbi State, Nigeria, with 2 photovoltaic vaccine refrigerator systems.
The Challenge
Hot and humid conditions combined with salt air have been the death of numerous stand-alone solar
power systems on islands in the South Pacic and the Caribbean. Apolima is especially susceptible to
conditions that are very harsh on equipment. Therefore, reliability, durability, and the ability to service
remotely were major considerations when designing the system.
Opportunities for Renewables
In the 1980s, the Samoa Electric Power Corpora-
tion (EPC) brought power to the island with a small
diesel generator. Yet the electricity supply faced a
number of problems, such as lack of 24-hour avail-
ability. Additionally, operation was inefcient, re-
quiring a high level of technical services and often
resulting in loss of power. EPC also struggled to pro-
vide an operator to maintain the generator and the
transport of diesel fuel was expensive.
In 2005, EPC considered solar as its primary source
of power. Therefore, EPC could have a nearly auto-
mated power system that did not require difcult
fuel delivery and could offer energy 24/7.
Renewable Solution
The design includes protection against the environ-
mental problems and built-in redundancy to avoid total
system failure should there be a component fault. The
mini-grid system uses the distribution network that was
installed for the diesel generator. The PV design con-
sists of 84 x 160W Module congured with a total of
13.76 kWp. The modules charge a battery bank and 4
Outback controllers provide for their optimal. 5 sealed
OutBack inverters provide 11.5 kW of 240VAC output
from the 48VDC input. The system design includes ap-
proximately 50% over capacity relative to the current
load to allow for load growth.
Project financing
UNDP, the Samoa Multi Country Ofce (MCO) and
UNESCO provided technical assistance and funding
for the feasibility study, system design and speci-
cations, installation supervision, and training. The
hardware and civil works for the PV system was
nanced by the Government of Samoa as part of
EPCs community service obligations.
Project Outcome
The project has been operational since November
2006, providing reliable power to the community
via the pre-existing mini-grid for almost three years
with no power interruptions or uctuations.
Delivering solar
energy to Apolima
in Samoa
Company Description
OutBack Power Systems is a leading
designer and manufacturer of power
electronics for renewable energy ap-
plications including solar, wind, and
micro-hydro as well as backup power
and mobile power applications. Out-
Back has established itself as the product of choice
in harsh environmental conditions, such as tropical
Andrew Wilson
Solar PV system overlooking Apolima village.
maritime environments with high humidity and salt
laden air.
Outback Power
The Challenge
Mozambique lacks basic electrical services. Kerosene is the most common use of lighting, and as a
result, health problems are rampant. In order to install PV, a local network of PV entrepreneurs has
to be developed, along with capacity building. This requires knowledge transfer at trainings and in
local universities.
Opportunities for Renewables
Very low electrication rate in rural areas and abun-
dant solar energy, with an average radiation of 5.5
KWh/m2 day.
Renewable Solution
Sundaya Ulitium Pico PV systems consist of highly ef-
cient LED lamps with integrated lithium battery and
electronics and solar modules. The local Solar Shops
and Solar Kiosks sell the lamps, and provide capacity
building by training electricians for maintenance and
providing lectures for students.
Project financing
50% of the investment costs are covered by Phae-
sun GmbH and Sonnenplus GmbH. The other 50%
by the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsges-
ellschaft (DEG).
Project Outcome
Provision of bright, clean, safe and reliable elec-
tric lighting, facilitating evening activities such
as school studies, village meetings and shop
Provision of clean energy to power radio/cassettes
by day or night thereby improving the quality of
life and general information level.
Healthier living environment through reduction in
kerosene usage and dry cell battery.
Creation of working places for the population in
the rural areas of Mozambique.
The overall investment lead to a proftable return.
in Mozambique
Company Description
The Phaesun GmbH from Memmigen,
Germany was founded in 2001 and con-
centrates on the sales, the service and
the installation of off-grid solar power and
wind energy systems. As one of the lead-
ing system integrators for stand alone so-
lutions, Phaesun offers all the important brands of
the off-grid solar and wind energy market. The com-
pany has branch ofces in Eritrea, France, U.A.E.
and Panama and has an extensive worldwide partner
and distribution network. Besides sales and instal-
Mr. Tobias Zwirner
+49 (0) 8331 990 420
Phaesun GmbH
Sundaya Ulitium Pico Lamp installation.
lation, Phaesun is focusing on the project manage-
ment, the technical support and the on-site training
of its customers. Phaesun has a lot of experience
in rural electrication, solar pumping systems, PV
telecommunication systems and others.
Students during outdoor measurements at Solar Energy School in Rema.
The Challenge
Less than 1% of the rural population in Ethio-
pia has access to electricity. Key issues for
the progress of the rural electrication are
training of technicians and the assistance of
local installers. This is vital to ensure that the
systems are properly maintained and consum-
ers are educated how to use the electricity ef-
Opportunities for Renewables
The large amount of solar irradiation in Ethiopia
makes this country very attractive for the intro-
duction of renewable energies based on the natu-
ral resource of the sun. Thus, local photovoltaic
systems are an ideal extension of the electricity
infrastructure in this country, where long distance
grids have not reached rural areas.
Renewable Solution
The International Solar Energy School in Rema,
founded by the Stiftung Solarenergie Solar Ener-
gy Foundation, has been training local technicians
in the eld of photovoltaic systems in rural areas
since 2007. The course has 3 modules: Solar tech-
nique, management and practice. Q-Cells supports
this project with manpower and equipment. Com-
pany engineers regularly travel to Rema with solar
cells, measuring equipment, cables, soldering irons
and plenty of visual aids to successfully explain the
fundamentals of photovoltaic electricity generation
in theoretical and practical classes.
Project financing
The project is nanced by the organization Stiftung
Solarenergie Solar Energy Foundation, which is
funded by various private and public persons, com-
panies and foundations.
Project Outcome
Since the beginning of the project, 62 rural so-
lar energy technicians have been educated at the
school in Rema. After nishing their training, they
work in Solar-Centres throughout the country, where
they install and service small roof-top systems and
also provide nancial assistance. The installed solar
home systems offer a simple form of development:
they allow people to read, sew, cook, draw and lis-
ten to the radio once the sun has gone down.
Company Description
Q-Cells SE is a leading manufacturer of solar cells
located in Germany. It was founded in 1999 and
has grown into one of the largest solar cell manu-
facturers in the world. Last year Q-Cells entered a
new phase, extending its expertise in manufacturing
solar cells towards the assembly of powerful crystal-
line modules, development of various thin-lm tech-
nologies, and even offering complete solar systems.
In short, the company is developing photovoltaics as
a sustainable, green technology for a better future.
Solar energy schools
in Rema, Ethiopia
Ina von Spies
+49 (3494) 6699 10121
Q- Cel l s
The Challenge
One of the important prerequisites for sustainable implementation of renewables as well as regional
value creation is the availability of skilled local personal at all stages of the project cycle. Many de-
veloping countries lack the necessary nancial means and know-how to train specialized staff.
Opportunities for Renewables
TREE supports capacity building and offers strategy
planning seminars for people working in ministries,
industry associations, law rms, and NGOs in the
115 target countries. TREE also offers seminars
on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Financing
Renewable Energy Projects addressed to decision
makers and engineers from public authorities and
industry as well as project developers and nanc-
ing institutions. TREE seminars are held both at
RENAC Training Center in Berlin and in selected
partner countries throughout the world. TREE pro-
motes the acquisition and dissemination of know-
how on renewables and energy efciency both at a
technical and a non-technical level.
Renewable Solution
The educational concept of TREE is multidimensional.
The project also offers online seminars and follow-up
advice, so participants have the possibility to deepen
their knowledge individually after attending seminars.
TREE Alumni also stay in touch through the TREE in-
tranet. There they can exchange ideas, problems, and
solutions from each other. Also included are a series of
publications on legal aspects of strategy development
for ministry employees as well as a transportable exhi-
bition on renewable energy technologies.
Project financing
TREE is supported by the International Climate Ini-
tiative of the German Ministry for the Environment,
Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), and
was recognized by the UN Decade of Education for
Sustainable Development.
Project Outcome
In 2008/2009, 560 participants from 14 different
countries participated in the seminars. In 2010,
450 decision makers from 115 countries are ex-
pected to take part. Evaluation of the rst TREE
project in 2008/2009 shows that many participants
implemented their own EE and RE projects in their
countries, conducted seminars or used the knowl-
edge gained for the elaboration of strategies and
road maps for renewables in ministries, and other
public authorities.
Project TREE -
(Transfer Renewable
Energy & Efciency)
Capacity buildings for
renewable energy and
energy efciency technologies
in developing countries
Company Description
The Renewables Academy AG (RENAC) based in Ber-
lin, Germany is one of the leading international provid-
ers of education and training in the elds of renewable
energy and energy efciency. RENAC has its own train-
ing centers in Berlin and Mexico for hands-on train-
Mrs. Tina Vlker
+49 30 52 689 58 77
TREE Seminar 2010.
ing in photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, energy ef-
ciency, and wind energy. For seminars abroad, RENAC
has a mobile Training Center, with which training for
photovoltaic, solar thermal, and wind energy technolo-
gies can be undertaken on locations worldwide.
Willem Nolens
+31 626 696 693
The Challenge
In 2010, most African rural households lack access to modern energy. Even though attractive and low-
cost renewable energy solutions have been developed, these solutions are hardly available in rural areas
as entrepreneurs lack the technical skills and capacity to start or expand a renewable energy business.
The public is hardly aware of the benets and many households do not have the cash to make the up-
front investment. The challenge is to build a sustainable supply chain, boost awareness and improve
affordability. This way, millions of households can reduce their energy expenses and accelerate their
Opportunities for Renewables
Solar home systems, pico hydro systems, house-
hold biogas systems, improved cook stoves, si-
phon water lters and LED lighting can be sold
and serviced by local entrepreneurs, reducing de-
pendency on subsidies. This represents a great
opportunity for households to reduce their energy
expenses, increase productivity and their living
Renewable Solution
REF coaches, supports, and nances entrepreneurs,
their technicians, and sales staff, which creates
sustainable supply chains. Awareness is boosted by
large-scale marketing campaigns and local village
demonstrations. Finally, as soon as supply and de-
mand start to develop, REF implements credit and
carbon schemes thereby improving the affordability
of the products.
Project financing
The Solar.Now! program is nanced by the Dutch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DOEN Foundation and
private donors. The funds are employed where
the impact is highest against the lowest-possible
costs. Overhead costs have been consistently be-
low 8%.
Project Outcome
Since 2007, REF facilitated access to electricity to
500,000 people at a cost of less than EUR 4 per
connected person.
Rur al Ener gy Foundat i on
( REF)
Electricity for
500,000 through
Solar.Now! Network
Company Description
REF facilitates access to renewable
energy to thousands in sub-Saharan
Africa through market development.
The focus is on effectively reducing
the three main barriers to sustain-
able growth: a lack of availability, low
awareness and limited affordability.
REF was founded in 2003 and cur-
rently has teams on the ground in Burkina
Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal,
Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
An entrepreneur starting his solar energy business as part of the Solar.Now! network.
In 2010, REF won the EU Sustainable Ener-
gy Award and the 2010 International Ashden
The Challenge
The Motufoua Secondary School is home to 600 children and consists of classrooms and dormitories
for boys and girls, as well as a large kitchen, dining hall, and showering facilities where 24/7 electric-
ity was desperately needed. At the request of the Tuvaluan government (Ministry of Public Utilities,
Energy and Industries) for a 46kW battery based and grid paralleled PV system for the school, the larg-
est hybrid system based on renewable energy in the Pacic Region was installed and commissioned.
Opportunities for Renewables
The Secretariat of the Pacic Regional Environment
Programme (SPREP) and the International Union
for Conservation of Nature (IUCN - Oceania) audited
the school to determine the need of a 46kWp PV
system and a battery system that supplies 200kWh
per day.
Renewable Solution
The technology used is the state-of-the-art AC-cou-
pled off-grid systems from SMA Solar Technology AG
equipped with 9 x Sunny Island 5048 and 6 x Sunny
Mini Central 8000TL based on 3 banks of 4500Ah FLA
batteries each at 48V from BAE, Germany. The PV sys-
tem consists of 272 x ERA Solar 185W panels.
Project financing
The system was planned and installed from Eco Ki-
netics Pty. Ltd., based in Brisbane, Australia, who
organised the whole project in terms of sizing, in-
stalling and training as well as especially the ship-
ment of 47 tonnes of equipment to Vaitupu from
Germany and Australia. As a sustainably planned
project, an 11-day training was conducted by Eco
Kinetics Pty Ltd and SMA Australia Pty Ltd with the
theoretical contents of basics of PV systems, system
sizing, and technology of hybrid systems as well as
practical components of installation, safety, com-
missioning and data collection.
Project Outcome
After just one month of operation by the Tuvalu
Electricity Corporation (TEC), the gathered data
from the system shows already that approx. 46.000
litres of diesel will be saved each year, which is
equal to approx. 65.000AUD currently. The school
is now provided with electricity 24/7 whereas a die-
sel genset was the only source in former times being
turned off during the night.
Above that, this system will also in contribute to
the education of the Tuvaluan population and bring
forward the technology of renewable energies in the
pacic region.
Tuvalu has already signalled the aim to install more
systems of even greater size on another island in the
state, based on the same technology.
Largest RE hybrid
system on Vaitupu,
Company Description
The SMA Solar Technology AG de-
velops and sells solar inverters and
central components of every solar
power system. Currently SMA has
over 5000 employees, is present in
all the worlds important markets of the future,
and is the only manufacturer to supply inverters
Michael Wollny
Tel. +49 561 9522-4122
SMA Solar Technology
Solar System at Motufoua Secondary School, Vaitupu, Tuvalu.
for both grid-connected and stand-alone solar
The Challenge
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SND) require stable electricity for their mission houses located
in Nigeria. Unfortunately, grid provided electricity in Nigeria is irregular and unstable.
Opportunities for Renewables
This region of Nigeria receives high radiation levels
ideal for efcient solar PV utilization (an average
of 5.2kWh/m2/day). Unreliable fuel supply coupled
with high cost of fuel and tough logistics challenges
makes renewable energy attractive for the region.
Renewable Solution
60 No. 190Wp Evergreen solar modules
12 No. Surrette 4V, 1350Ah @ 20 hr
Lead-Acid battery
3 No. Outback 3000VA inverter/charger
Diesel-engine generator set 8KVA, 6.4KW,
3 phase, 4 wire, 380-415/220-240 volts
Grounding and lightning protection
The solar package was designed and installed to pro-
vide power the following loads: Lighting, water purier,
general power and Telecoms equipment, for both the
convent house and the Primary school. Some of the
Sisters at the convent were trained on simple operation
and maintenance procedures.
Thomwell Energy Services Inc. acted as advisor and
project developer to the SND. Thomwell was respon-
sible for the engineering and procurement of offshore
equipment, while Solarmate (as a subcontractor to
Thomwell) was responsible for:
a) Provide logistical support in the shipment of material
from outside of Nigeria to the Contractors facilities
for subsequent forwarding to installation sites.
b) For procurement of materials locally as requested by
c) For design of certain portions of the installation sub-
systems as directed by Thomwell
d) For construction services of the photovoltaic and re-
lated systems at the various installation locations.
Project financing
The project was nanced by donors to the Sisters of
Notre Dame de Namur.
Project Outcome
The project has been operational since October
2008. The convent houses up to 20 people with up
to 100 students.
Solar Power
for an African
Mission Station
in Nigeria
Company Description
SOLARMATE undertakes design,
supply and installation of power
solutions for the various sectors of
our Nations economy. The compa-
ny is entirely Nigerian. Solarmate
Engineering Limited is managed
and directed by professional engi-
neers and was founded in 1996.
Dotun Tokun
Installing the solar array (60 No. 190Wp Solar Modules) at Akwunanaw, Eastern Nigeria.
Dotun Tokun
The Challenge
Many remote villages in west and southern provinces of China are not connected to public electricity
grid due to large distances, difcult accessibility, and expected low energy demands. This denies com-
munities of development opportunities through access to electricity.
Opportunities for Renewables
The target destinations for this project are well
suited for the use of solar energy. Some regions are
in the vicinity of desert areas, some are located at
high altitudes of up to 4500m and others are based
in subtropical areas. All of these conditions provide
good irradiation conditions for the use of photovolta-
ic off-grid systems.
Renewable Solution
After thorough assessment of sociological, economical
and technical factors, each village was equipped with
a central village power supply system based on the AC-
coupled Sunny Island technology. All power systems are
based on SolarWorlds multi-crystalline solar modules
designed for off-grid applications. In some villages, a
diesel generator has been installed to backup the pho-
tovoltaic system in periods with reduced insolation (i.e.
rainy season) and to reduce the necessary battery size.
Project financing
This project was co-nanced by the Chinese Ministry
of Finance and the German Kreditanstalt fr Wied-
eraufbau (KfW). Financial support was also granted
by regional and local bureaus of nance. Last but
not least, the connected villagers contribute by pay-
ing their electricity bill. The regional and local -
nancial support enables the local project execution
agencies to make provisions for e.g. subsequent bat-
tery replacements ensuring the sustainability of the
Project Outcome
All in all, 142 villages were equipped with renew-
able power systems. Basic electrication to power
lighting, telecommunication, information technol-
ogy, and entertainment has been provided to almost
30,000 people.
7000 homes
receive clean
in China
SolarWorld is one of the
leading PV-manufacturers
covering the entire value
chain from raw silicon to
both complete grid-con-
nected and off-grid solu-
tions worldwide from
Wp-Solar Home Systems
to MWp power plants.
Ulrich Warna
Tel. +49 22855920581
Village power supply in Yunnan province of China.
The Challenge
Laos is one of the worlds poorest nations with poverty concentrated in its rural areas. Kerosene lamps
are widely used for lighting, which constitute a major re and health hazard, and only offer dim light-
ing. Solar lanterns have so far failed to replace kerosene lamps due to low quality and misuse.
Opportunities for Renewables
Being located in South-East Asia, Laos has plenty
of sunshine, offering ideal conditions for photovolta-
ic applications. However, night falls early all year
round so the need for lighting after sunset is imper-
ative. The population is dispersed, making stand-
alone renewable energy systems a viable solution.
Renewable Solution
Sunlabob has developed a rental scheme to enable
poor households to afford solar lanterns. The system
comprises a solar charging station and lantern units,
operated by a village entrepreneur. Based on a fee-for-
service concept, this model replicates conventional fuel
consumption practices.
Project financing
The project is nanced via a private-public partner-
ship. Sunlabob provides the charging stations, which
are rented to village entrepreneurs via franchise ar-
rangements. A public donor nances the lantern
units, which are managed by a village committee
and also rented to the village entrepreneur. Follow-
ing the initial investments, the model is designed to
be maintained with rental income alone.
Project Outcome
Pilot tests have revealed considerable interest for
our solar lanterns in rural Laos. In 2008, Sun-
labob launched a south-south business initiative
with the Ugandan company TSSD. Now solar
powered charging stations are operating in sev-
eral remote Ugandan villages. In 2009, Sunlabob
was approached by USAID, ASMED, and DAI to
carry out an assessment of the feasibility of the
solar lantern project in Afghanistan, taking into
account the local human, social and technical
Solar Lanterns
for 1200 homes
in Lao PDR
Company Description
Sunlabob has been developing
and providing renewable energy
solutions in Laos since 2000. Our
main focus is on off-grid rural ar-
eas, which represent over 75% of
the countrys 5.6 million inhabit-
ants. Our solution empowers com-
munities, whilst improving health
and safety, and creating opportu-
nities for income-generating and
educational activities.
Simon Henschel
+65 8435 9806
Village Entrepreneur issuing a solar lantern to a villager.
Simon Henschel
+65 8435 9806
The Challenge
Due to the impact on the projects nancial applicability, ensuring that a long-lasting battery is opera-
tional over its lifetime is necessary. The energy supply depends on resource availability and the techni-
cal conditions of the area.
Opportunities for Renewables
La Ye is a lumberjack community within the Mu-
nicipality of San Lorenzo in Ecuador. The village is
isolated, but radiation conditions are very good (avg.
G10 = 3,2 kWh/m2/day).
Renewable Solution
With a mixture of clustered and scattered buildings in
the village, the solution is based on a combination of
a micro-grid and individual micro power plants under
the same operation scheme. TTAs design energy dis-
pensers are used with a project-tailored tariff system
to ensure the energy usage is according to the resource
availability and the technical conditions. TTAs propri-
etary charge control technology is used to ensure long
battery life.
A single 3,3 kWp PV generator supplies a DC coupled
micro power plant with a 30 kWh battery storage and
3,6 kVA DC-AC inverter feeding a micro-grid. Individ-
ual 400 Wp and 200 Wp PV systems supply 6 and
3 households respectively. All consumers are supplied
with 120Vac electrical energy.
Project financing
Initial investment: Grant by the bi-lateral Catalan
Aid Agency (ACCD) and co-funding by Barcelona
City Council, the community and the Municipality
of San Lorenzo.
Operational costs and sustainability: Tariffs are at
rate, xed for consumption level (550 Wh/day or
275 Wh/day). TTAs design energy dispensers offer
dynamic energy management.
Project Outcome
Project feedback demonstrated complete satisfac-
tion from the users and the local authorities. The
system has greatly improved the quality of life of
residents through providing basic services and en-
tertainment and furthermore, has already generated
incipient micro-businesses.
PV hybrid
energy powers
a village of
19 homes
in Ecuador
Company Description
Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA) is an
international consulting and engi-
neering rm working since 1986 in
the eld of renewable energies, en-
vironmental projects and technology development.
In rural electrication, TTA has been involved in
Xavier Vallv
Tel. +34 934 463 234
Trama TechnoAmbiental
General view of the community in San Lorenzo.
studies, policy and implementation in many devel-
oping countries.
The Challenge
The project site in Ilakaka is a rural village with several thousand inhabitants and is a typical example
of an isolated grid in Madagascar. The energy is sourced by expensive inefcient diesel power and
distributed by a local IPP. Energy demand is rising due to increasing local businesses.
Opportunities for Renewables
The wind speed on the hills near Ilakaka have
enough potential to source energy, especially during
the late afternoon and evening when consumption
is at its peak. The existing diesel generator runs al-
most 24/7. Adding a Hybrid wind turbine of a simi-
lar power in parallel decreases the diesel consump-
tion instantly.
Renewable Solution
The old inefcient diesel generator was replaced with
a modern one of 100kVA and combined with an 80kW
Hybrid wind turbine. The wind turbine has two blades
with a rotor diameter of 18m on a tower of 30m with
integrated Telecom antenna for a local provider. The
hybrid controller of the wind turbine has remote con-
trol and can achieve a unique 100% wind penetra-
tion! Yearly production of the wind turbine is about
160.000kWh at 6 m/s average wind speed. We trained
our Malagasy colleagues in The Netherlands and on-
site for installation and maintenance of wind turbines.
So far they installed and maintain over 40 off-grid
wind turbines in Madagascar for IPPs, Telecom and
Private businesses.
Project financing
The project has been nanced by The Wind Fac-
tory International in combination with its branch in
Madagascar and the local IPP, supported by a Pri-
vate Partnership Program of the Dutch Government.
Project Outcome
Over 400 grid connections provide energy to about
2500 people and over 200 businesses. Diesel con-
sumption is expected to reduce by 40.000L annual,
saving over 100Mt CO2. The local grid has been im-
proved and new kWh-counters have been installed.
As the biggest wind turbine built in Madagascar,
this project has given condence to local govern-
ment and private businesses that wind energy is not
exclusive for main grids.
Installation of
a Wind-diesel
Hybrid system
in Ilakaka,
Company Description
The Wind Factory has over 20
years experience in Engineering,
Installation, Operation & Maintenance of on- and
off-grid wind energy systems. Our focus is on de-
centralized small and medium sized wind turbine
systems, of which the majority is manufactured
Pieter Klimp
Tel. +31 (0)20 3422137
The Wind Factory
The Wind Factory installation in Madagascar.
in-house. As a group, we have installed hundreds
of wind turbines worldwide. Additional O&M con-
tracts shows our long term sustainable commit-
These projects make a difference
These projects are just a small selection of the thousands that are being realised worldwide by
members of the Alliance. Through only 18 projects, these companies have provided access to elec-
tricity to almost 1 million people in 23 different countries in 3 continents. Moreover, they have lead
to enhanced education and healthcare, increasing access to water, and empowering women through
modern energy services. The companies have transferred knowledge to electricity users; electrica-
tion can act as a starting point for self sustained economic growth and job creation. Thus, these
case studies emphasize capacity building and project maintenance in addition to renewable solu-
tions. The projects comprise more than 4 MW of power capacity and through displacing the diesel
equivalent; they help to avoid more than 7000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Most importantly,
these projects bring living proof that the business community, the public authorities and the people
in developing countries, using a variety of frameworks and nancing schemes, can work hand in
hand to alleviate poverty and to create sustainable and clean economic growth.
Lessons Learned
Despite the breadth in project design, there are some key lessons that emerge from these prac-
tise examples:
Rural electrifcation is not a straightforward process. It requires sophisticated approaches and
long-term planning and life-cycle costs have to be calculated over the expected long-term time
horizon of each project.
Rural electrifcation projects must adapt to local conditions; the mobilization of local com-
munities and local companies is essential. Consumers must be educated on their electricity
use, and local installer and technician training is indispensible. Capacity building, therefore,
is crucial to the success of implementing off-grid projects.
Projects must safeguard operations and maintenance. Very often electricity consumers cannot
afford to cover the full generation costs. As a consequence, appropriate nancing schemes
which safeguard the long term operations are essential.
Energy effciency must be a guiding principle right from the inception of the project.
The overall stability of legal and fnancial framework conditions is very important. If these
conditions are put in place, renewable energy technologies can be the economical key for al-
leviating poverty and bringing electricity where it is most needed.
Next steps
ARE invites all stakeholders in the feld of access to energy and energy security to consider the
opportunities for renewables in rural development and to take on board the key lessons that our
members have shared.
ARE invites other project operators in this feld to get in touch with us and to share their own
experiences and encourages readers to contact the project leads for further information.
Authors : Guido Glania, Simon Rolland, Aneri Patel Second edition Publication date : February 2011
Cover picture courtesy of Phaesun Gmbh
Alliance for Rural Electrifcation Renewable Energy House Rue dArlon 63-65 1040 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 400 10 52 E-mail:
The Alliance for Rural Electrication (ARE)
is the international business organisation
for the renewable energy off-grid sector.
Our members are companies, research institutes,
renewable energy agencies and associations.
ARE members stand for high quality,
experience and sustainability.
Together we develop the renewable energy
markets of the future!