While much of the globe is considering how to use more green energy and reduce CO2 emissions in advance of the COP26 climate meeting, the challenge in Africa is quite different.
It’s a struggle for many people across the continent to get any energy at all. Energy is unavailable to 600 million people in Africa, limiting their ability to start and run enterprises.
Even in South Africa’s and Nigeria’s megacities, businesses must contend with recurring power outages. As a result, governments, businesses, and inventors are collaborating to address the problem.
According to Ghana’s Ministry of Power, more than 80% of the country’s population has access to electricity through the national grid. However, reaching out to people in rural areas has proven difficult.
As a result, the country is deploying microgrids, which are self-contained energy systems that serve specific areas, to deliver low-cost, clean electricity to remote villages utilising solar and wind power.
Eric Pupulampu, a trader in Pediatokope, a Ghanaian island village on the Volta River, is overjoyed. Thanks to a microgrid project that provides him with the power to keep his freezer running, he can now stock and sell cold drinks and perishables, which has boosted his business.
However, the problem is not limited to rural areas; large cities are also experiencing power outages.
Lagos, Nigeria, has a population of about 15 million people, making it one of Africa’s busiest cities, but the city’s electricity supply is neither consistent nor safe.
Because of this unreliability, the majority of people who have access to grid electricity must rely on alternate power sources, primarily gasoline and diesel generators.
Nigerians also spend $22 billion (£16 billion) a year on generators to power their offices and residences, according to the Nigerian Energy Commission. Companies, predictably, are seeking for solutions that can provide consistent power while also being environmentally friendly.
The Green Solar Academy, established in South Africa, and its partners around the continent offer training and hands-on seminars on topics ranging from solar theory to system design and the fundamentals of running a solar business.
“Solar has created a new sector where individuals can work as wholesalers, designers, installers, and salespeople,” says Green Solar’s senior operations manager, Khumbudzo Amanda Dzivhani.