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Critical Review of Supply of Decentralised Renewable Electricity in Sub-saharan Africa

Critical review of supply of decentralised renewable electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the poorest rates of electrification. The current centralised grid supply of electricity is not reaching everyone especially those living in remote rural areas of SSA. Therefore, decentralised off-grid electrification systems are being supported as being an alternative option in which, communities can make their own electricity. The sustainable development goal 7 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

The purpose of this report is to find out the state of knowledge, innovation and business development in the area of renewable decentralised electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently there are many renewable electrification systems being implemented and my task is to critically review literature to find out the state of knowledge, innovation and business development for renewable electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The renewable electrification system that I will be focusing on is going to be solar PV more specifically (Solar home systems, PV micro grid and Solar small devices).

The approach I’m going to take is 1) search keywords to identify the relevant literature; 2) follow a structured approach to review and analyse the literature; 3) Report the outcomes and formulate suggestions/recommendations for addressing the renewable electrification solution challenge.

I will be comparing countries in SSA, why one has adapted to a certain system better than the other by looking at several factors e.g. market size. Then I will compare between the different systems. Furthermore, I will recommend what is best.

The aim is to:

-Critically review Solar PV-based electricity access alternatives for Sub-Saharan Africa.

-Analysis of costs and profitability of alternative options.

-Analysis of other aspects such as environmental, social, technical etc.

-Analysis of innovation and business development in delivering PV-based electrification option in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

AC: Alternative current- is when the current changes direction over time

BOP: Base of the pyramid- are a group of populations that are the poorest socio-economic around the world. It consists of 4 billion people around the world which have incomes below $2.5 a day (Methvin and Philipp, 2017).

DC: Direct current- is when the current sustains a persistent direction over time

DoE: Department of energy South Africa

KES: Kwazulu Energy Service

Kshs: Kenyan shilling

kW: kilo-Watt

kWh: kilo Watt-Hour

PV: Photovoltaic

SA: South Africa

SPV: Solar Photovoltaic

SSA: Sub-Saharan Africa

Contents page

Contents

Abstract

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Contents page

Figures

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

2.0 Technology options for decentralized electrification in SSA

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Solar PV

2.2.1 Solar Home Systems (SHS)

2.2.2 Solar Local (micro) grids

2.2.3 Solar small devices

3.0 Country experiences of Solar Home System (SHS)

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Country Experiences

3.2.1 South Africa

3.2.2 Kenya

4.0 Country experiences of Solar Local (micro) grids

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Country Experiences

4.2.1 South Africa

4.2.2 Kenya

5.0 Country experiences of Solar small devices

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Country Experiences

5.2.1 South Africa

5.2.2 Kenya

6.0 Analysis of other aspects

6.1 Solar Home Systems

6.1.1 Technical aspect

6.1.2 cost aspect

6.1.3 Environmental aspect

6.1.4 Social aspect

6.1.5 Economic aspect

6.2 Solar local (micro) grids

6.2.1 Technical aspect

6.2.2 cost aspect

6.2.3 Environmental aspect

6.2.4 Social aspect

6.3 Solar small devices

6.3.1 Technical aspect

6.3.2 cost aspect

6.3.3 Environmental aspect

6.3.4 Social aspect

7.0 Calculation

7.1 PVgis tool

8.0 Comparative analysis

8.1 highlighting the key differences between the Solar PV systems

8.2 Comparisons between the use of SPV systems in SA and Kenya

8.2.1 SHS

9.0 Recommendations

Future work

Conclusion

Glossary

Table of Abbreviation

Appendices

Reference

Figures

Figure 1: percentage of population with no access to grid (Orlandi et al., 2016).

Figure 2 Configuration of the SHS used in South Africa

Figure 3.1 Electrification rates of different states in SA in the year 2002 and 2013

Figure 4 Solar irradiation levels in SA (Azimoh et al., 2015a)

Figure 5 shows the number of Solar Home Systems in the top five countries by the end of 2014 (REN21, 2016).

Figure 6 Graph showing load figuration for SHS and mini grid in Thlatlaganya, SA (Azimoh et al., 2016).

Figure 7 Roy Solar lantern (left), Kerosene lantern (right) (Tong, 2015)

Figure 8 shows the number of Solar Lighting Systems in the top five countries by the end of 2014 (REN21, 2016).

Figure 9 Retail prices of different components of small solar devises from 2009 to 2017 (Scott and Miller, 2016)

Figure 10: places that have adopted the Pay as you go service (Orlandi et al., 2016).

1.0 Introduction

The access to electricity particularly in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa is significantly low as the national electrical grid is located far away from these remote areas hence making the connection to rural areas expensive. Therefore, other off grid electrification methods are needed to help reach the sustainable development goals announced by the UN in 2015. Goal 7 is to be achieved by 2030 which ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all ( Goal 7 .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform). Currently there are many renewable electrification systems being implemented and my task is to critically review literature to find out the state of knowledge, innovation and business development for renewable electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The renewable electrification system that I will be focusing most on is going to be solar PV.

1.1 Background

Table 1.1 Electricity rates in Africa

Region Populations without electricity (millions) Urban electrification rate % Rural electrification rate % Electrification rate %
North Africa 1 100% 99% 99%
Sub-Saharan Africa 632 63% 19% 35%
Africa 634 71% 28% 45%

Source: (IEA, 2016)

The Continent Africa has the worst electrification rate compared to all other continents. Conferring to the International Energy Agency Africa has an electrification rate as shown in (table 1.1) of 45% with 634 million people without electricity. Developing Asia has the second lowest electrification rate of 86%. The bulk of low electrification rate in Africa is made-up of Sub-Saharan Africa with an electrification rate of just 35% with 632 million people without electricity. Whereas North Africa has an electrification rate of 99% with only 1 million people without electricity.

There appears to be a substantial difference of electrification rate between the rural and urban areas of SSA. Urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa have an electrification rate of 63% compared to the 19% electrification rate in rural areas. Figure 1 shows that Africa has the lowest rate of access to the grid than any other nation. Population rate in Africa is growing way faster than the extensions of the grid. The off-grid solar market trends report (Lemaire, 2011; Orlandi et al., 2016) claims that in 2040 it is predicted that Africa will still have 530 million people without grid electrification although 950 million people will have gained grid access then. This means that to reach universal electrification in SSA it is vital for off grid methods such as solar PV to be endorsed.

Figure 1: percentage of population with no access to grid (Orlandi et al., 2016).

2.0 Technology options for decentralized electrification in SSA

2.1 Introduction

Many countries in SSA have realised that centralised options for electricity most predominantly the extension of the conventional grid is economically unfeasible and environmentally unfavourable. Therefore, many countries are now implementing alternative electrification systems that are decentralized options (Methvin and Philipp, 2017). There are many decentralised renewable options such as:

Micro-Hyrdo power: this uses water to generate electricity.

Small wind turbines: this system uses wind to generate electricity.

Solar Photovoltaics: Uses the energy of the sun. converts sun light to electricity. (This report will focus on this system)

2.2 Solar PV

Solar energy is the most abundant form of renewable energy. SSA has a lot of solar radiation which makes it sufficient for them to adopt this method. There are various forms of Solar PV technologies that have been implemented or planned in SSA such as SHS, mini-grids, kiosks, water heaters, streetlights, lamps, picos, kits, power packs, water pumping systems, lanterns and outdoor micro-stations (Baurzhan and Jenkins, 2016).

(This report will predominantly focus on SHS, Solar mini-grids and solar small devices)

2.2.1 Solar Home Systems (SHS)

What is SHS?

A standard Solar Home System (SHS) comprises of PV modules which consist of solar cells that covert solar radiation to electricity which is then stored in the battery. The SHS has a battery which supplies DC electricity to DC appliances for example TV, fans, etc. Most SHS operates at a 12V DC. The charged battery also stores energy so that when there is no sunlight present e.g. at night, electricity can still be supplied to the appliances (Azimoh et al., 2014). The standard SHS also has a charge controller whose function is to supply the appliances with the right amount of power from the battery so that the appliances and battery do not get damaged (Chaurey and Kandpal, 2010). The SHS is a standalone PV system they are intended to meet the needs of a single home.  (Methvin and Philipp, 2017). The SHS can power appliances for up to 5 hours. An inverter can be added to power larger appliances which changes to AC current at 240V (Methvin and Philipp, 2017).

Figure 2 Configuration of the SHS used in South Africa

The role of the SHS is to provide electricity to basic household items such as small power appliances and domestic lighting that are not connected to the grid. SHS can’t support community development or income generating activities as they are too small to power amenities such as street lighting, vaccine refrigeration, clean drinkable water production etc. (Chaurey and Kandpal, 2010). The system size of SHS range from 20-100W (REN21, 2015).

2.2.2 Solar Local (micro) grids

What is solar local (micro) grid?

A Micro grid is an off-grid PV power plant which has its own distribution network. A standard PV microgrid comprises of a PV array which generates electricity. Also, it has a battery that stores the electricity. Furthermore, it has a power conditioning unit which consists of junction boxes, charge controllers, inverters, distribution boards and wiring. Lastly, it also includes a power distribution network which consists of poles, conductors, insulators, wiring, service lines, interior wiring and may include appliances for households (Chaurey and Kandpal, 2010).

(Azimoh et al., 2016) has stated that micro grids alongside SHS are most dominant technologies used for rural electrification in developing countries. Microgrids can also be called mini grids. Microgrid is identified as being a huge step up on the energy access ladder than SHS and solar pico systems (World Bank, IEG and MIGA, 2016). Mini grids comprise of one or more energy source storage including solar, hydro and wind (this report will focus on the micro grid powered only by solar). Also Comprises of a distribution network that delivers electricity to multiple homes. Mini grids are better to set up in crowded areas rather than sparsely populated areas. The disadvantage of pursuing mini grids is that the maintenance costs and investment costs are high (Methvin and Philipp, 2017). The mini grids in SSA can range from 8kW to 10MW (IRENA, 2016).

2.2.3 Solar small devices

What is solar small devices

Small Solar devices can also be known as pico PV devices. Pico PV systems are small scale solar systems. Their main intent is to provide lighting however can run small appliances like mobile phone charging. An example of a small solar device is a solar lantern. These devices mainly consist of a little built in solar panel and battery. These devices are portable and can only produce sufficient electricity to power itself (Methvin and Philipp, 2017).

3.0 Country experiences of Solar Home System (SHS)

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Country Experiences

Leaders in SHS use in SSA

South Africa is one of the leaders in SSA in using SHS.

Table 2.1 Countries that use SHS in SSA

countries in SSA that use SHS
country Capacity added in 2014 Cumulative at end of 2014 Additional information
South Africa 1317 kWp
  • 18065 resident electrified
Burkina Faso 159 kWp 342 kWp
  • 3365 residents electrified
Kenya 100units

Source: (Baurzhan and Jenkins, 2016; REN21, 2015)

3.2.1 South Africa

South Africa

Current status of electrification in South Africa

South Africa has a rural electrification rate of 85% as shown in (table 3.1) which is higher than most other countries in SSA. In rural areas of South Africa where grid is not available, they have adopted a system using Solar Home Systems (SHS) for electricity. According to (Methvin and Philipp, 2017) 85% of the whole population living in SA is connected to the coventional grid as compared to the average 43% in the rest of the Africa. Taking into consideration the high levels of grid connection in SA, there are still major problems as 60% of the rural households have no access to electricity. Likewise, a large majority of people living in urban areas that are on low incomes don’t have access to the grid and poorer residents that are connected are finding conventional grid connection expensive as they are spending more than 20% of their income a month on grid connections. SA main approach in achieving universal electrification has been by extending the grid. However, the grid is powered by coal which is detrimental to the environment as coal has the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Also coal supply is running out hence prices of being connecting to the grid are increasing. SA has been pursuing alternative decentralised systems but are seemingly slow to adapt to these systems. Due to focussing more on grid extension they are rather behind other countries of SSA in delivering decentralised off grid systems. According to (DoE, 2015) SHS were introduced to provide electricity to those living in remote rural areas were grid couldn’t reach. SHS were predominantly targeted in Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape state.

Figure 3.1 Electrification rates of different states in SA in the year 2002 and 2013

Table 3.1 Electricity rates in countries within SSA

Region Populations without electricity (millions) Urban electrification rate % Rural electrification rate % Electrification rate %
South Africa 8 87% 85% 86%
Kenya 36 60% 7% 20%
Sub-Saharan Africa 632 63% 19% 35%

Source: (IEA, 2016)

Description of the SHS used in South Africa

(Azimoh et al., 2014) has stated that the standard SHS used in SA is a direct current system. Consisting of a solar panel, a 12V battery pack, battery safety fuse and a charge controller. (DoE, 2015) indicates that the SHS used in SA supports basic services such as lighting, tv, radio and mobile phone charging.

Market size (how many sold so far, how it is growing)

(Lemaire, 2011) has identified that the aim for South Africa set by the government in 1999 was to install 30,000 solar home systems. Looking at table 3.1 in 2015 there were 18,065 residents electrified by solar home systems. (Methvin and Philipp, 2017) reported that there are two types of companies providing the SHS to SA one being the SHS concession program and the other being the independent SHS provider called iShack. SHS concession program was set up in 1999 by DoE they targeted three areas in SA which was Kwazulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. They started installing SHS in 2003 however they are now bankrupt so they stopped installing SHS however they continue to deliver the maintenance service and still collect fees. (Wlokas, 2011) states that a company called Kwazulu Energy Service(KES) had installed and are still servicing 10000 SHS. (DoE, 2015) claims that there are more than 96,000 SHS installed since 2001 under the rural off-grid electrification programme. The SA government has invested of R350 million for this programme.

Size of SHS being used

The SHS sizes used in SA ranges from 50 to 100W. The SHS size was increased to 100W in 2012 (DoE, 2015).

Price

According to (DoE, 2015) the connection price of SHS was R89 which was a once off fee then there is also a small monthly service fee which covers the running costs such as operation, maintenance, replacement of batteries and customer service costs. Governments subsidies 80 to 100% of the capital costs of the SHS.

Selling arrangement (hire purchase, outright sell)

Distribution

aftersales

(Wlokas, 2011) reports that KES are still providing the maintenance service of the SHS they had installed. The monthly maintenance costs are 75Rand.

South Africa’s problem using SHS

Being connected to the conventional grid meets most user’s electricity demands compared to using standard SHS which deliver limited amount of electricity which can only be used for lighting and TV or radio only for a limited amount of time as reported by (Wamukonya, 2007).

(Azimoh et al., 2014) claims that people in South Africa are showing resentment for these low powered SHS. The SHS can only be used for appliances with low power consumptions such as lighting, radio, DC television and mobile phone charging. There is a major problem of theft in South Africa as the SHS equipment’s are being stolen. This is hindering the performance of SHS as the residents have inhibited a habit of placing the solar panels under observation in fear of it being stolen. The residents are taking the solar panels indoors at night and during daytime they are placing them on the ground nearby of the house so they are visible. Placing the solar panels in these positions mean they are no longer at optimal positions for getting the most solar radiation. To reduce the theft, they had come up with a solution of integrating alarm systems to the panels. However, these systems cost too much for the SHS users as the parts needs to be replaced over time.

(Azimoh et al., 2015a) has identified how shading affects the SHS performance adversely. South Africa has an average daily solar radiation of 5 to 8

KWh/m2 /daywhich is much greater levels than America and Europe which have an average daily solar radiation of 3.6and 2.5

KWh/m2 /day.  When solar panels are placed under shading, the shading will reduce the energy output. Shading of solar panels are present because of some areas being obstructed by mountains and highlands. It showed that cities in SA with more shading present had a negative effect on the performance of SHS as they had less energy output also the battery life cycle was less. Financially areas under less shading had a decrease in cost as less PV size is needed to attain the same power output than those where shading is present plus less battery needs to be changed as the battery life cycle is greater under less shading. Figure 2 shows the amount of solar irradiation present in different areas of SA. Table 3 shows a comparison between Thlatlagannya Village which has one of the lowest solar irradiation rate in SA with Upington Town which has a high solar irradiation rate. It shows the performance of SHS. From table 3 it can be concluded that areas with higher solar irradiation perform better.

Figure 4 Solar irradiation levels in SA (Azimoh et al., 2015a)

Table 3 The effect of location on the performance of SHS

Upington Thlatlaganya
Battery life cycle (years) 11.36 10.22
State of charge % 89 86
Energy output 154 129

Source: (Azimoh et al., 2015a)

(Azimoh et al., 2016) indicated that a pilot project carried out in Lucingweni and Thlatlaganya village showed that 300 households needs about 2.4 kW h/household/day of electricity to maintain an income generating activities and results showed that SHS were not able to meet these requests.

South Africa what’s the lesson

3.2.2 Kenya

KENYA

Current status of electrification in Kenya

Kenya has a population of 36 million people without electrification. There is a 60% rate of urban electrification rate which is low compared to South Africa’s urban electrification rate of 87%. This means that some people living in urban areas like Nairobi have no access to the conventional grid. In rural areas, there is an electrification rate of only 7% as shown in (table 3.1). According to (ODI et al., 2016) the government has set a target of achieving universal energy access by 2020 in Kenya. This target set is seeming difficult to achieve as Kenya’s population is rapidly increasing expecting to rise by over 8 million in 2020. Conferring to (ODI et al., 2016) the population in 2020 will reach 52.2 million from 46 million in 2016. Kenya is situated in the eastern region of SSA. (UNEP et al., 2014) states that Kenya is leading with the development of solar PV compared to other eastern SSA countries like Tanzania and Uganda. However, (ODI et al., 2016) claims that despite the Solar PV market growing a vast majority of the population (45.9%) live in extreme poverty, meaning that they might find it hard to pay for the solar PV systems.

Description of the SHS used in Kenya

The majority of rural off grid installations identified by (Sebitosi, Pillay and Khan, 2006) are small solar devices and SHS. The typical SHS in Kenya consists of a single PV panel, a storage battery and a load.

Market size (how many sold so far, how it is growing)

(REN21, 2016) reported that as of early 2015 more than 6 million SHS and kits were estimated to be in use over the entire world. Asia has been dominating the SHS market with India, china and Nepal having a combined of over 2 million systems. The SHS market in Africa is reportedly starting to grow rapidly in particularly east Africa. M-KOPA which is a Kenyan solar energy company found in 2011 has reportedly sold 300,000 SHS in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in the years 2014 and 2015 alone. This shows signs that as of late SHS market is growing at a rapid pace in Africa. M-KOPA is targeting 1 million households by the end of 2016. (IRENA, 2016) claims M-KOPA is connecting 500 homes with SHS each day throughout East Africa.  The figure below shows the top 5 countries with the most number of Solar Home Systems sold by end-2014.

Figure 5 shows the number of Solar Home Systems in the top five countries by the end of 2014 (REN21, 2016).

The figure above shows that the SHS market in SSA compared to Asia is way behind, with only one country Kenya listed in top 5 for the number of Solar Home Systems sold.

Size of SHS being used

The system size of SHS range from 20-100W (REN21, 2015).

Price

(Quansah, Adaramola and Mensah, 2016) has stated that in Kenya the cost of energy from SHS is stated as being between $1-$7.6/kWh, varying on the sort of battery being used. (IRENA, 2016) reports that those without electricity spend up to $0.60 every day on Kerosene lighting. However, M-KOPA’s pay as you go program can provide SHS for $0.45.

Selling arrangement (hire purchase, outright sell)

Distribution

aftersales

Business model

Perception

Potential for expansion

4.0 Country experiences of Solar Local (micro) grids

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Country Experiences

Table 6.1 Countries that use Solar mini-grid in SSA

countries in SSA that use Mini-grid(Solar)
country Capacity added in 2014 Cumulative at end of 2014 Additional information
Ghana 6 kWp
  • Two compact mini-grids
Kenya 113 kWp
  • A mini-grid (45kW), 25 compact mini-grids(58kW) plus 4 containerised mini grids-(10kW)
Mali 622kWp
Mozambique 9kWp
  • 3 compact mini-grids installed
Niger 27.5kWp
  • 105 households electrified y this method
Nigeria 16kWp
  • 12 compact mini-grids
Tanzania 6kWp
  • 2 compact mini-grids installed
 

Source:(REN21, 2015)

Table 6.2 Countries that use Micro-grid(PV) in SSA

countries in SSA that use Micro-grid(PV)
country Capacity added in 2014 Cumulative at end of 2014 Additional information
Madagascar 3.2kWp
  • Micro-grid 2kW

Source:(REN21, 2015)

4.2.1 South Africa

Market size (how many sold so far, how it is growing)

Size of Mini-grids being used

The system size of mini-grids is larger than SHS and pico systems. The system size range from 10 to 1000kW (REN21, 2015).

Price

Selling arrangement (hire purchase, outright sell)

Distribution

Aftersales

Comparison between SHS and mini grid

Figure 6 Graph showing load figuration for SHS and mini grid in Thlatlaganya, SA (Azimoh et al., 2016).

Looking at figure 3 it shows that the times when residents of Thlatlaganya, SA used electricity from SHS the most was in the mornings and evening as TV, lighting and radio are used mostly in these times (Azimoh et al., 2016).

(Azimoh et al., 2016) states that SHS supplies electricity around 3 to 5 hours a day and is at irregular intervals, on the other hand mini-grids can supply steady and continues electricity for up to 24hours a day. SHS only supports a limited number of devices such as small radios, mobile phone charging, electric bulbs and black and white TV. In contrast, mini-grid can support much more devices such as colour TV, refrigerator, sewing machines, computers, air conditioners and much more. The activities SHS can support are small retail shops, barbering at night time, listening to news, radio and light used for mat making. On the other hand, mini grids can support a broader range of activities such as, supporting schools, hairdressers, agriculture, carpentry café, street lighting and much more.

4.2.2 Kenya

Market size (how many sold so far, how it is growing)

(IRENA et al., 2015) reports that Kenya has 18 mini-grids all with diesel generators, two with wind and six with solar hybridization. A 13kW solar PV based mini-grid was installed in 2013. (Methvin and Philipp, 2017) indicates that in Kisii, Kenya there were four pilot projects set up targeting four villages in Kisii. This pilot project was set up by the company called Powerhive East Africa which started in 2012. The Kisii pilot project comprises of solar PV micro grid systems. The four pilot projects combined supply 1500 people with a collective size of 80kW.

Size of Mini-grids being used

According to (Methvin and Philipp, 2017) the size of the micro grid being used in Kisii is 80kW. This supplies electricity to 1500 people. However, the Kisii pilot project providers Powerhive Inc are looking to extend the solar mini grids to 100 villages in the future so they can aid electricity to 90,000 changing the total capacity size to 1MW.

Price

Connection fees for the mini grid service in Kisii is $24 equating to R336 (Methvin and Philipp, 2017). (wbcsd, 2016) states that Powerhive technology includes a hardware called smart meters, this measure how much electricity a customer consumes. Powerhive has set up a pre-paid billing system in which customers need sufficient credit. If there is no credit available the power supply to the consumer will bet cut off. When the credit balances become too low users are notified through their phones. Credit purchase can be brought by mobile phones.

5.0 Country experiences of Solar small devices

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Country Experiences

Leaders in solar small devices

Kenya is one of the leader of using solar small devices.

Table 4.1 countries in SSA that use solar small devices

  countries in SSA that use solar small devices
country Type of solar small device Capacity added in 2014 Cumulative at end of 2014 Additional information
Kenya Solar lantern 7155 units (2012)
  • Implemented under an SNV-funded project
 

Source:(REN21, 2015)

5.2.1 South Africa

5.2.2 Kenya

Current status of electrification in Kenya

Description of solar small devices used in Kenya

Figure 7 Roy Solar lantern (left), Kerosene lantern (right) (Tong, 2015)

Kenya uses Roy solar lanterns (fig.4) to provide lighting for rooms. The solar lantern used in Kenya consists of LED lights that are powered by 6V battery and are connected to a 3W crystalline solar panel.  The lanterns can provide up to 5-10hours of either lighting or mobile phone charging and 1 hour of listening to radio a night (Tong, 2015).

The Roy solar lantern consists of:

– On and off switch.

– Battery charge indicator light.

– Port for mobile phone so it can be charged.

– Port for solar panel connection.

– Peg to hang the solar lantern.

– Also comes with a 3W solar panel, a universal phone charger and a AC wall charger (Tong, 2015).

Market size (how many sold so far, how it is growing)

According to (REN21, 2016) the market for solar portable lights has grown by 90% per year for the last four years in SSA. There has been up to 20million pico-Solar products sold in particularly portable solar lights by mid-2015 which most of these sales were concentrated in India and SSA. The figure below shows the top 5 countries with the most number of solar lighting systems sold by end-2014.

Figure 8 shows the number of Solar Lighting Systems in the top five countries by the end of 2014 (REN21, 2016).

Looking at the figure above it seems that Solar small devices are doing well in Sub-Saharan Africa as the top five countries with the most Solar Lighting Systems consists of 4 Sub-Saharan African countries.

(IFC, 2010) indicates that the target market for Solar small devices are for those that are at the base of the pyramid. These devices are affordable for low income households and small businesses. (World Bank, IEG and MIGA, 2016) highlighted that the World Bank and IFC led the Lighting Africa which is a program that addresses the lighting need for the people without connection to the conventional grid. This program was first implemented in Kenya as a pilot project which then after was replicated in other countries in Africa. This program was funded by donor grants initially. The program in Kenya turned out to be a success. The Lighting Africa program intent in 2007 was to increase the development of a sustainable commercial market that provided quality, clean and safe solar lighting devices to the households and small businesses that are at the base of the pyramid and aren’t connected to the grid. When this program was launched in Kenya in 2009, initially only 2percent of Kenya’s population was using solar lamps. In 2014, this number grew to 10percent. (World Bank, IEG and MIGA, 2016) indicated that this growth can’t be totally credited to this project exclusively. From 2009 to 2014 850,000 solar lamps were sold under this project far exceeding the predicted value of 300,000. This had helped about 4.25 million people mostly that were living in rural areas of Kenya and deprived areas of Nairobi.

Size of Solar small lanterns being used

The solar lantern, solar Pico systems are the smallest PV systems ranging from 1-10 Watts (REN21, 2015). This means that it can only power low power appliances, small lights and mobile phone charging.

Price

(Tong, 2015) Identifies that the cost of the Roy solar Lantern is 3900 kshs which makes it non-affordable for the lowest income earners of Kenyan residents. Therefore, to make the solar lantern affordable for the poorest there has been a financing scheme implemented in which the residents have an option to pay monthly instalments as well as full instalments.  For monthly instalments, the price is 325 kshs a month which is similar to the price of the traditional kerosene lanterns which cost 270 kshs. Moreover, solar lanterns do not require long hours of travelling to replenish supplies like kerosene lanterns. Looking at figure 6 it shows that over the years the small solar devices has got cheaper. The batteries has changed from acid batteries to lithium batteries (Scott and Miller, 2016).

Figure 9 Retail prices of different components of small solar devises from 2009 to 2017 (Scott and Miller, 2016)

Selling arrangement (hire purchase, outright sell)

Business model:

Solar devices are cost competitive with devices such as kerosene and battery operated torches however solar devices have a high upfront cost in which people at the base of pyramid struggle to afford these devices due to not having disposable cash. Therefore, energy service companies like DESCO have come up with a pay as you go service which allows users to pay instalments that are affordable. There are around 20 companies that provide this service and more companies are also looking to adopt this service in the future. Figure 7 shows the countries that have adopted this system (Orlandi et al., 2016).

Figure 10: places that have adopted the Pay as you go service (Orlandi et al., 2016).

(ODI et al., 2016) reports that Kenya has adopted a system where they use mobile phone payment systems. 33.6 million people have mobile phone connection in which 15 million people have mobile money accounts meaning it’s easy to adopt this payment system. A company called M-KOPA is supporting this system as they are selling thousands of mobiles with solar system function every month. However, (ODI et al., 2016) stated that an interviewee had doubts about the pay as you go service as he felt that the upfront costs and repayment plans are too pricey for most of the population in Kenya.

Distribution

aftersales

6.0 Analysis of other aspects

Figure 6.0 Topics to be covered in a structured approach

6.1 Solar Home Systems

6.1.1 Technical aspect

Availability

Maintenance

Supply

6.1.2 cost aspect

cost aspect

Solar PV systems are very costly for Sub-Saharan Africa however there is good evidence that recently solar PV system costs have dropped, and they will continue to drop. The reason in a drop of solar PV cost as (Baurzhan and Jenkins, 2016) states is because of the worldwide research efforts taking place to reduce cost of PV technologies. The solar PV cost has mostly decreased due to the fall of the module cost, which has been the costliest component of the PV system. The research efforts going on is a good indicator that in the future solar PV prices may further decrease hence making it affordable for the people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, despite the manufacturing cost falling solar PV systems in SSA has a much slower cost convergence rate to conventional technologies compared to other regions around the world. Compared to Asia, the installed capital costs of off-grid systems i.e. Solar PV in SSA is much higher. The higher capital costs for off-grid solar PV are because of SSA being a high risk for investors as the on-grid solar PV systems have been experiencing significant cost reductions (Baurzhan and Jenkins, 2016).

Solar home systems can be the most affordable source of electricity for people living in remote areas.

(Baurzhan and Jenkins, 2016) states that solar home systems will take around 8.7 to 16.9 years to become competitive with the conventional diesel generators.

Cost calculation of electricity from SHS per kWh

Cape town is an urban area in South Africa.

6.1.3 Environmental aspect

Environmental aspect

(Lemaire, 2011) states that SHS are environmentally friendly as they do not emit greenhouse gases, also do not regulate air and noise pollution. They are a clean source of electricity provider. According to (Lahimer et al., 2013) every 1 kWh of power generated by the solar PV reduces carbon dioxide emission by 0.7kg.

6.1.4 Social aspect

Social aspect

The increase in electrification of rural areas in SSA by solar PV systems will have many social benefits for these people living in these remote rural areas. Solar street lighting could mean people can socialize as they can gather around under lighting (Muhammad, 2012).

(Lemaire, 2011) has identified that lighting is the main use of solar electrification and he also states better lighting increases the productivity of small businesses also means that children’s can study at night hence resulting in them attaining better grades.

Needs

Study

In a study carried out in Thlatlaganya village in SA (Azimoh et al., 2016) found that amongst the population, citizens that were poor depended on SHS. Thlatlaganya village consist of 300 households with an average of 4 people living in one house. (Azimoh et al., 2016) has identified the source of income for people of Thlataganya village. The elderly receives pensions for income, the young receive income from farming and unemployed depends on money from relatives. Those that were middle income earners mostly retired pensioners were connected to the national grid for electricity as they could afford it. Whereas, the poorer citizens were depended on SHS.

6.1.5 Economic aspect

Economic aspects

(Azimoh et al., 2015b) has addressed the economic impacts of the SHS program. The usage of SHS could result in economic growth as small scale businesses can do business at night as they can use the light from SHS hence meaning they can operate for longer hours.

6.2 Solar local (micro) grids

6.2.1 Technical aspect

Availability

Maintenance

Supply

The micro grids used in Kisii, Kenya provided by Powerhive consists of a smart meter, its function is to control the micro grid ensuring operations to run smoothly. These meters measure the consumption rate of the user therefore aiding the pay as you go scheme (wbcsd, 2016).

According to (wbcsd, 2016) Powerhive have set up training programs for local technicians so that they can repair the micro grid when it’s not functioning.

6.2.2 cost aspect

Cost aspects

(IRENA, 2016) states that with the reduction of Solar PV cost new solar mini grids are costing from $1.9 to $5.9 for systems bigger than 200kW. The Solar PV mini grids that were installed before 2012 costs more. Despite the reductions of costs (Azimoh et al., 2016; IRENA, 2016) claims that mini grids are not an feasible option as he states a pilot project carried out in Lucingweni village showed mini grids had a high electricity production cost. Hence, why electrification is more rendered towards SHS.

6.2.3 Environmental aspect

6.2.4 Social aspect

(wbcsd, 2016) claims that electrification from micro grids is an affordable system for those without electricity in Kenya. The prepaid system that the Powerhive company offers is designed for users to save money as they would previously invest in traditional systems i.e. kerosene for lighting which cost more.

6.3 Solar small devices

6.3.1 Technical aspect

Availability

Maintenance

Supply

6.3.2 cost aspect

Cost aspects

(IFC, 2010) reports that the solar small devices retail prices are getting cheaper as the manufacturing costs are decreasing.

6.3.3 Environmental aspect

Environmental effect

The use of small solar PV devices for lighting such as solar lanterns instead of burning kerosene which people of SSA are currently using may help reduce environmental and health issues. Burning kerosene inside secretes harmful gases and toxins such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitric oxides resulting in health issues like lung cancer as well as increase in greenhouse gas (Baurzhan and Jenkins, 2016) . (IFC, 2010) provide a more detailed account of how using Solar small devices for lighting instead of Kerosene and other biofuels reduces the CO2 emissions. It is estimated that Kerosene emits 2.5kg of CO2 per litre. Small businesses and households in Africa that use Kerosene emit up to 30 to 50 million tons of CO2 per year. This means that replacing the kerosene lamps with solar lighting would reduce CO2 levels. Using these devises instead of Kerosene and paraffin mean that householders are no longer inhaling toxic fumes.

However, (Oghogho, 2014) states that even though solar PV cells are thought as being environmentally friendly, there not so during manufacturing plus when they are past their life expectancy they are thrown as waste. The solar PV materials are attained from mining hence causing dangers to miners. Also, the machines used for mining are run by petrol which are fossil fuels resulting in pollution. This means that the increase in solar PV demand will increase the manufacturing rate and disposal rate therefore resulting in increase of environmental pollution.

6.3.4 Social aspect

Social aspects

(World Bank, IEG and MIGA, 2016) states that after the solar lanterns had benefited education in Kenya as school children were able to study and do their homework at night times. Also, households and small businesses had improved their savings as they didn’t need to renew their kerosene time to time.

Needs

Study

Comparison of solar lanterns to SHS and micro grid

(Tong, 2015) states that in (Mpala Village in Laikipia District) rural Kenya solar lanterns were the ideal choice and was a preferred choice compared to other solar PV electrification technologies in particularly SHS. The reason solar lantern was chosen more than SHS was because solar lanterns had a considerably lower price point. Also, solar lanterns address a more essential necessity (lighting) compared to SHS.

7.0 Calculation

7.1 PVgis tool

PVgis is an online tool that estimates the electricity production of a PV system. This tool calculates the monthly and yearly potential electricity generation [kWh] of a PV system. The tool can take into consideration the tilt and orientation of the PV. The PVgis tool can also calculate the monthly solar radiation on the horizontal plane.

Calculating the energy production for the SHS in Kenya:

The solar home systems range from 10-100Wp. Say the SHS in Kenya has a 100Wp crystalline solar panel. So

100Wpto

kWp=

kWp=Wp/1000

kWp=100Wp/1000

=0.1kWp(installed peak PV power)

The average solar radiation in Kenya is

4150Wh/m2 /dayaccording to the (PVgis,) tool.

Source:(PVgis,)

The PVgis tool shows that the SHS in kenya with a system size of 100Wp produces 165kWh total electricity production per year. (IRENA, 2016) reports that Kenya’s electricity consumption per capita is 153KWh.

The result from the PVgis tool proves that SHS meets the electricity demands of the users in Kenya as the SHS electricity production of 165KWh per year is greater than the electricity consumption per capita of 153KWh.

Calculating the energy production for the SHS in South Africa:

The solar home systems range from 10-100Wp. Say the SHS in South Africa has a 100Wp crystalline solar panel. So

100Wpto

kWp=

kWp=Wp/1000

kWp=100Wp/1000

=0.1kWp(installed peak PV power)

The location selected was Limpopo, South Africa.

The PVgis tool shows that the SHS in Limpopo, South Africa with a system size of 100Wp produces 148kWh total electricity production per year. (World Bank, 2014) identifies that SA electricity consumption per capita is 4,229KWh.

The result from the PVgis tool shows that the SHS does not meet the electricity demands of the people in SA as the SHS electricity production of 165KWh per year is less than the electricity consumption per capita of 4,229KWh. This means that South Africa should focus more on mini grid systems rather than SHS and small solar devices. Also, the PVgis result shows that the average daily electricity production is 0.405 kWh. This is way less than the required 2.4 kW h/household/day of electricity to maintain income generating levels Identified by (Azimoh et al., 2016).

8.0 Comparative analysis

8.1 highlighting the key differences between the Solar PV systems

Table 5.2 Key features of the market segments of the different solar PV systems

Type of Solar PV system System Size Target market Owners and buyers Performance and features
Solar Home System 10-100Wp Homes located in non-electrified villages and for houses that are on the outskirts of electrified towns but are from the conventional grids. The buyers are private households. The owners are ESCOs They can support devices like LED TVs, radios.
Pv Mini-grids 5kW-1MWp Villages and towns that are located far from the existing grid. Utilities, village electrification projects ESCOs and cooperatives. They can support mostly all appliances.
Small pico devices 1-10Wp These are mostly for people living in non-electrified areas. Used for mostly lighting and charging small batteries e.g. for mobile phones. They are private   consumer devices where buyers can buy these systems over the counter. They can replace kerosene lamps and can support USB charging.

Source: (UNEP et al., 2014; Harrison, Scott and Hogarth, 2016)

A reason why Mini-grids are not as popular in SSA compared to SHS is because for mini grids to be deployed it requires the approval of the community whereas SHS can be deployed without approval (Methvin and Philipp, 2017).

8.2 Comparisons between the use of SPV systems in SA and Kenya

8.2.1 SHS

Kenya is doing better than SA in the use of SHS. There are many reasons for this. According to (Methvin and Philipp, 2017) some residents of SA are fearing to invest in SHS as they think that by introducing SHS it’ll prevent grid connection into their community, this is not the situation in Kenya. Another reason is that SA residents desire electricity for larger appliances e.g. fridge which the SHS provided by M-Kopa does not support as they have small panels and can only support small appliances e.g. a phone or light. Therefore, SA residents may be more suited to mini-grids than SHS.

9.0 Recommendations

Summarizing above electrification for all in Sub-Saharan Africa will not be reached by 2030. Most people living in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa are very poor in other words they are at the base of the pyramid so it would mean that Africa should focus more on supplying residents with solar small devices than its counterparts SHS and microgrids as it’s the cheapest for users. However, those that require more energy requirements e.g. people of SA, this option may not be the best for them as their energy demand is higher. So SHS systems will be more suited for people of SA however some cities in SA e.g. eastern SA have high altitudes where there’s loads of mountains this effects the solar irradiation of SHS negatively. This means that SHS is only suited for flat lands. Therefore, the states with high altitudes need micro grids but the problem is they are too expensive.

Future work

Conclusion

Glossary

Table of Abbreviation

Appendices

http://www.refworks.com/refshare2?site=071621330923600000/114221488848009829/Project

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