In East Africa, Eritrea plans to launch two solar hybrid power systems that will provide grid quality electricity to 40,000 people and businesses in the towns of Areza and Maidma.
In an effort to aid the country in bringing power to those without grid connections the EU, UNDP, and the government of Eritrea launched the project last year.
The solar hybrid programme, which is being undertaken by UK firm Solarcentury, is to be completed this year.
Currently, the two Eritrean agricultural towns have no access to the national grid. Located in the country’s southern region the communities depend on small diesel generators, which are environmentally damaging and provide limited and intermittent power supply.
“This project aims to improve the livelihoods of people living in rural towns and villages. It is hoped the project will be replicated in order to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in Eritrea and provide access to reliable power 24/7,” a representative of the Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines said.
It’s happening! Many African countries have set ambitious targets for increasing energy access. #Eritrea has not been left behind. According to former UN chief @KofiAnnan ,Off-grid solar power and mini-grids, have vast potential to advance access to electricity in #Africa . #SDG7 pic.twitter.com/ctSQWAzsDr
— UNDP Eritrea (@UNDPEritrea) August 7, 2018
Finance for the solar hybrid project
The $6.56 million project is primarily financed by the EU through the ACP EU Energy Facility and the UNDP and Eritrea are contributing a little under $2.3 million each.
The two mini-grid hybrid solar systems will be powered by solar PV and lithium-ion batteries.
“Photovoltaics are the cheapest form of power on the planet. Particularly in Eritrea, it’s blessed with an abundance of sunshine,” says Daniel Davies, Director of Hybrid Power Systems at Solarcentury.
He adds that the system will use Canadian Solar panels and SMA inverters. Both projects were scheduled to be completed early in 2018 and will be managed by the Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines.