The Energy for Development (e4D) Network aims to enable a step-change in collaborative research and project development addressing the energy needs of rural communities in developing countries. So far e4D has installed six solar mini-grid projects in Sub-Saharan Africa with an installed capacity of 68.4kWp. The work is being led and coordinated by the Sustainable Energy Research Group (SERG) at the University of Southampton.
Sustainable Rural Electrification
Reliable and affordable sources of energy are fundamental not only for wellbeing, but also for economic growth and poverty reduction. Fulfilling the energy needs of developing countries without compromising the environment is a challenge, requiring imaginative policies and methods. Many rural communities do not have access to the national electricity network or the associated benefits in health and quality of life provided by electrical services such as lighting and refrigeration. The installation of modular energy technologies that can be operated independently provides a solution for these areas.
We argue that to implement sustainable rural electrification, three important components are required:
People: Engage the local community in determining their needs, aspirations and goals and assess the social, economic and cultural context of the community to identify the most appropriate system.
Product: Select technologies best suited for the local situation, based on the resources available and the wants and needs of the community.
Process: The introduction of energy systems must be accompanied by the development of business processes to allow sustainable replication, deliver social benefits and generate wealth for the community.
The Energy for Development Network aims to develop appropriate, replicable models for energy systems that recognize the socio-economic, financial and technical aspects of supplying energy.
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