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HOW RENEWABLE ENERGY ADOPTION TRANSFORMS AFRICAN ECONOMIES 

 Nearly half of Africans (46%) still live in households without electricity. To effectively combat poverty, enable new economic possibilities, and promote equality, efforts to attain universal access to affordable, dependable, and sustainable electricity by 2030 must be at the forefront of energy transition initiatives. The speed with which modern, renewable-based solutions can be adopted will be determined by a well-balanced mix of on-, mini-, and off-grid alternatives for unserved and underserved communities, as well as supply security, and overall economic feasibility, and cheap access. Traditional energy supply issues in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as concerns about climate change, sparked interest in renewable energy sources. The United Nations announced a new goal (Sustainable Development Goal SDG 7) in September 2015 to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, dependable, sustainable, and modern energy by 2030. This coordinated global effort demonstrates a renewed interest in the investment, production, and use of less expensive and ecologically benign energy sources. As a result of these efforts, the average global consumption of renewable energy has increased. Renewable energy’s part of meeting rising global energy demand will increase by one-fifth by 2023, to 12.4 per cent. By 2030 and 2040, renewable energy sources will account for 34.7 per cent and 47.7 per cent of the global energy supply, respectively. That is, by the end of 2030, approximately 35% of the global energy supply will come from renewable sources. This evidence is perhaps a big sigh of relief to proponents of renewable energy use and critics of non-renewable energy use because of climate change concerns and its management challenges.

The energy transition, coordinated by comprehensive policies to encourage revolutionary decarbonisation, has the potential to create widespread socio-economic development. Long-term energy transition would be aligned with economic, environmental, and social goals if policymakers took a holistic approach to policymaking. Labour and social protection policies must be adjusted to the individual needs of each country and region in order to enable a just transition – including a fair share of the expenses associated with the energy transition. In order to fully realise the societal potential and ensure that no one is left behind, social equity issues, particularly gender elements, must be integrated into policy and programme design. Dedicated and coordinated efforts in this area are likely to aid overall sustainability both during and after reform attempts. “Africa is tired of being in the dark,” said Adesina, president of the African Development Bank.”Now is the moment to take immediate action and change the narrative in order to light up and power Africa – to accelerate economic development, unlock entrepreneurial potential, and drive much-needed industrialization to create jobs.” As of this writing, Cameroon is developing a legal framework for the promotion of renewable energy. It is a legal, financial, and institutional framework in Cameroon for the promotion, legal, and financial operation of renewable energy.

Cameroon is a country in western Africa located in the Gulf of Guinea. The country and its 24 million residents are organised into ten political areas, with English-speaking regions in the north and south and French-speaking regions in the middle. There are divisions and sub-divisions within each region. In the south, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo border the country; in the east, the Central African Republic and Chad border the country; and in the north, Nigeria borders the country.

Cameroon gets most of its energy from biomass, which is owing to its potential among Sub-Saharan African countries, i.e., Cameroon has the second-largest biomass potential in the area, with forest covering about three-quarters of the country (21 million hectares). Solar radiation is an unexplored renewable energy source in the country. More than half of the total land area has the potential for solar energy generation, as shown in Figure 1, particularly in the following regions of the country: Maroua, Garoua, Ngaoundere, Bamenda, Bertoua, and Yaounde. Nevertheless, the country’s adoption of solar energy has impacted the lives of the people. This is manifested in the following ways:

Figure 1: Solar energy potentials of Cameroon. Adapted from Solaris

Impact on the growth of electricity generation

The rural solar power campaign, which has already gained traction in several local councils, is aimed at delivering fresh development-stimulating perspectives that will transform village communities’ livelihoods. President Paul Biya of Cameroon has also placed his support behind the project.

“We will continue to build energy infrastructure in our country to suit the needs of our agriculture industry as well as the needs of our people.” For rural electrification, in addition to hydroelectric dams, thermal power, and solar energy facilities are being built,” Cameroon President Paul Biya remarked in his year-end speech to the nation on December 31, 2021.

Officials from Cameroon’s Ministry of Mining, water, and energy said the initiative is part of a partnership between the government and Huawei, a Chinese telecoms corporation that also instals solar panels, to provide solar energy to more than 1000 village communities, mostly in rural areas. According to the administration, the first phase of the initiative, which targeted 166 villages, began in 2017. Solar power, much of its small-scale and typically installed by non-governmental organisations contributed only around 1% of Cameroon’s energy needs prior to the initiative. According to officials from Yaounde’s Ministry of Mining, water, and energy, the country’s energy expansion plans, which initially centred mostly on fossil fuel facilities and hydropower expansion, now include renewable energy, particularly in rural areas. Below is the impact of solar energy on the people living in Cameroon.

Protecting Forests

Environment experts have praised a new campaign to increase the use of solar power in energy-strapped rural communities, which could assist Cameroon, which is home to part of Africa’s Congo Basin forests, reduce deforestation rates. “With the arrival of solar energy, the chopping of trees for wood and the use of charcoal for cooking and heating will now be reduced in many villages,” Augustine Njamnshi, the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy’s coordinator in Cameroon, stated. According to him, Africa’s progress has been stifled by a lack of energy, with an estimated 70% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa lacking dependable access to electricity. Businesses in Cameroon and other Central African Economic and Monetary Community countries are barely surviving, according to Augustine, because electricity is still expensive and intermittent. Local councils and businesses are also backing the plan, which will help shore up efforts to conserve the indigenous forest.

Disappearing Forests

The use of charcoal for energy and as a source of money for rural inhabitants has been blamed in part for Cameroon’s dwindling forest. Climate change is exacerbated by community abuses of forest resources, such as the removal of trees for the manufacturing of charcoal as a source of revenue. Cameroon’s woods are Africa’s second-largest, covering about 23 million hectares. According to the government, they have a significant role to play in the country’s economic development, as well as the battle against climate change and reaching global forest conservation goals. According to 2017 data from Global Forest Watch, a forest monitoring organisation, Cameroon lost over 900,000 hectares of trees between 2001 and 2016, a 2.8 per cent decline in the country’s forests. Experts say the loss not only hurt ecosystems and drives climate change but hit the country’s economy as well. The economic and environmental impact of forest loss is really immeasurable, necessitating urgent measures to redress the problem.

Solar Brings Back Businesses in Mfou, Cameroon

Officials from local governments and rural residents in some of the villages that have already benefited from the project say their lives are improving. One of the villages already connected to solar panels is the Mfou rural council in the Centre area, which says it is pleased to have a cleaner and less expensive source of electricity. “It’s a less expensive alternative to diesel generators and wood energy, which were previously used to power small enterprises,” said Mfou Mayor Roger Belinga. Solar energy, according to JaromeAngwi, a beer vendor in town, costs a sixth of what diesel did to operate his refrigerator and beer parlour. In addition, officials hope access to electricity will help keep youths from deserting rural areas for jobs in Cameroon’s cities. “Some of those who left are already coming back since the solar panels were installed, Belinga said.

Solar Powered water pumps

Two water pumps are operational and are powered by the solar plant’s electricity. A PV generator, an inverter, and a submersible motor pump transfer water to a high-level water tank make up the system. The water is gravity fed from the reservoir to the public water taps. The water is provided to all people at no cost. The off-grid PV system is self-contained and connects to a number of loads. The off-grid PV system can be a stand-alone energy system for a home or it can be backed up by another source, most commonly a grid link.

The off-grid technology is widely used in Cameroon’s rural areas. The project was overseen by a Community Management Committee (CMC), which was chaired by the town’s mayor and aided by the chairman of the Local Development Committee. There are around 75 households connected, excluding fake connections. The feasibility study gave each of the 75 houses a television, radio, and telephone, as well as three energy-saving lights.

The Need for Feasibility Analysis

Feasibility analysis of the off-grid possibility, which will determine the profitability of proposed projects in the local market, must first be carried out. The feasibility study typically covers the Proposed project sites, and projected demand (usually based on extrapolation of socio-economic data. Getting a developer who is conversant about detailing feasibility is very essential. With a vast knowledge and experience of the Energy Project Africa (EPA) team, we conduct a feasibility study that will save your resources and at the same time save you from stress. At EPA, we carried out a feasibility study that evaluates your off-grid project’s potential for success; as we take perceived objectivity is essential. EPA is well equipped with trained personnel to help you locate and define a geographical area. Energy Project Africa is ever ready to collect and analyze up to date data for you to be able to own an efficient and reliable off-grid. Energy Project Africa performs a site visit in the third step to double-check the preliminary data, establish contact with the relevant community and public bodies, and analyse the community’s appetite for the off-grid. Energy Project Africa will perform a study to gather the seasonal data required to actualize your off-grid dream.  Energy Project Africa, which has a team of skilled data analysts, conducts complete research on existing and prospective off-grid demand in the region. This is necessary because if demand falls short of expectations, the mini-revenue grids may not be enough to cover the project’s fixed costs, let alone pay for maintenance or replacement equipment. Based on our considerable energy audit experience and understanding, EPA can estimate current loads. Furthermore, we can anticipate future loads based on demographic and economic expansion using current data, which is more difficult for our competitors to do. EPA uses software called Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Resources to estimate and specify a system’s projected loads, network architecture, consumption, and cost. A concession deal or a power purchase agreement may also be required for larger projects (PPA). The EPA maintained a positive and friendly relationship with the document’s regulatory bodies. This is another reason why you should allow us the opportunity to guide you through the process.

Quality Solar Equipment Procurement

Procurement refers to the process of locating, getting, and purchasing goods and services from a third party, typically through a tendering or competitive bidding procedure. The Energy Project Africa is frequently involved in the procurement of components and delivery of lead-acid or lithium batteries for use by African communities and companies. This is accomplished with the collaboration of battery manufacturers from advanced countries. The procurement is actualised with work by European and American manufacturers, including Pylontech, which focuses on developing new lithium battery solutions, Schneider, Fullriver; Index-Exide; and Deka. Many African communities and businesses are hampered by insecure and unsustainable grid supplies, as well as excessive electricity prices. We are proud to be a Nigerian firm, and we aspire to construct a future in which the local energy storage sector becomes more cost-effective, innovative, and competitive; we also hope to develop products that help both the communities and businesses in Africa.

Our network operations centre provides client service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a company that takes responsibility for monitoring operations and maintaining solar rooftop upkeep, we give in-depth business insights in the form of value-added services to our corporate customers and industry-based clients. Because of the need for regular and optimal solar system administration, African communities and businesses must rely on the EPA’s solar energy O&M competence. At EPA, we do high-quality O&M with our engineers, who have received extensive solar maintenance training and are well trained to maintain solar systems and make necessary repairs. Thanks to years of field training, the EPA undertakes automatic as well as efficient system assessments to ensure that solar power facilities are assessed in compliance with international standards. Our continual monitoring and inspections ensure timely action when your solar system isn’t operating as it should. Our O&M staff are in charge of all aspects of solar power plant maintenance, ensuring that the plant functions smoothly and that our clients have access to power at all times.

Energy Project Africa is a leading renewable energy business in Lagos, Nigeria with expertise in procurement of energy equipment, energy audit and feasibility solutions for mini-grid and solar farms. Supply by EPA provides solar products and equipment for corporate and institutional clients for the project and operational needs. If you need a partner with hands-on local expertise in the renewable energy space or any of our bespoke solutions/services, kindly contact to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

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