The University of Zambia has taken the initiative to develop a solar energy department where they will invest US$750 000 into research laboratories, ITWeb Africa reported.

The plan was designed in response to the increasing energy demand in Southern Africa, ITWeb Africa reported.

The Southern African population is increasing at rapid rate resulting in growing energy demands which utilities are battling to meet due to lack of funding and poor infrastructure.

By developing this project the objective is to expand solar power access to low-income remote communities who are not connected to a centralised grid, ITWeb Africa reported.

University of Zambia’s head of Energy, Environment and Research Group Prem Jain was optimistic about the opportunities which this move would bring to the Zambian energy sector.

‘We will spend $750, 000 in establishing of the laboratories that would increase access to electricity especially in rural areas’, Jain said.

Jain said that with current depleting resources integrating renewable energy into the energy mix would increase access to electricity on rural communities, ITWeb Africa reported.

The South African Development Community (SADC) region is struggling to keep their heads above water with the continuous power challenges occurring more frequently than one would like.

Jain said that the University’s decision to implement solar energy laboratories was motivated by the techno savvy graduates who they were producing who are capable to work with solar energy technology, ITWeb Africa reported.

According to Jain, Zambia is an environment which is well suited to solar technology and can successfully include solar grid fed-in, mini grid, off-grid, solar heating and soar micro system technologies, ITWeb Africa reported.

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Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl has been working in the African power, energy and water sectors since 2011, first with African Utility Week and now as the Editor of ESI Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of the Global and African Power & Energy Elites publications. With her passion for sustainable business and placing African countries on the international stage, Nicolette takes a keen interest in current affairs and technology trends.

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