Deepest darkest Africa. Most of the continent does not have access to electricity. One of the advantages for developing developing countries is that they are able to leapfrog technological development. This means solar power projects have brought the future to meet the present, and already there are major Solar power plants providing large scale, clean energy which is lighting up Africa.
Construction began in February 2014 on an 8.5 megawatt solar power plant in Rwanda, finishing 6 months later. The project was headed by the Rwandan government and the private company Gigawatt Global.
The plant is situated 60km east of the capital, Kigali. And is designed so that, from a bird’s-eye view, it resembles the shape of the African continent.
The plant’s construction created 350 local jobs and increased Rwanda’s energy generation capacity by 6%, powering more than 15,000 homes.
The project is built on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned after the genocide. This lease provides the biggest source of income to the village, currently home to 512 young people who are offered schooling and solar power.
Google became an unlikely investor, along with several other companies, to invest in the Jasper solar power plant project, which was completed in 2014. Google’s first clean energy investment within South Africa.
Built in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, the Jasper solar power plant is now the largest of its kind in Africa.The 96 megawatt is said to be able to provide enough energy for over 80,000 homes. Not only has the Jasper plant provided much needed clean energy, but it has also provided 1 million man-hours of construction work and 800 on-site construction jobs.
The Aiwiaso village in Western Ghana will soon become the home grounds for the the biggest solar power plant ever constructed in Africa.
Scheduled for completion in October 2016, the Nzema solar power plantpromises enough energy to power 100,000 homes. The Nzema plant will contribute 155 megawatts of power, as well as create 200 permanent jobs for Ghanaians, and a further 2,100 jobs throughout the country because of the extra energy available.
Blue Energy, the company responsible for such a daring construction, received the country’s first private renewable energy license. To which they responded by designing a solar power plant that will cover 182 hectares and consist of 630,000 photovoltaic panels.
Nzema is the company’s first big project outside the UK and promises to be a turning point in solar power technology.
Small, but interesting
A non-profit developer has recently design a solar powered projection system to help Malawian teachers educate children in remote areas.
Chris Moller – Cambridge engineer – created a solar powered LED ML750e projector, installed with an Apple TV media streamer and an amplified speaker system.
LED projector is connected to a long-life battery that enables the teacher to use the unit for up to five and a half hours. It has multiple charging options such as: solar power, a car battery through the lighter socket or a mains adapter.
The LED projector has already been established in five schools, with plans for it to be released to another 200 classrooms nationwide. Addressing the dire need for teaching resources in Malawi.