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( Solarcentury secures €5.7m deal to build East African solar mini-grids

Posted by: Biniam Tekle

Date: Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Areza in Eritrea is one of two communities in the country set to benefit from the project

Solarcentury secures €5.7m deal to build East African solar mini-grids

Hybrid mini-grids will use combination of solar PV and lithium batteries to power communities of Areza and Maidma in Eritrea

Solarcentury has been awarded a €5.7m contract by the Eritrean government to design and build two hybrid mini-grids composed of solar panels and batteries.

The solar-powered mini-grids will provide power to businesses and around 40,000 people in the communities of Areza and Maidma in Eritrea, neither of which currently have access to grid electricity and rely on costly diesel generators for power.

Jointly funded by the Eritrean government, the EU and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the project is aimed at showcasing the potential for using solar-battery hybrid power systems to provide electricity to rural communities across Africa.

Dr Daniel Davies, director of hybrid power systems at Solarcentury, said solar power and storage technologies were increasingly the most cost-effective means of delivering clean, reliable power to remote areas.

"This exciting project builds on the work we have done elsewhere in Africa and will demonstrate the amazing potential for solar to provide low cost reliable power in isolated areas," said Davies.

Both the Eritrean government and the UNDP are each providing around €1.9m towards the project, while the remainder is being funded through the EU's African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Energy facility.

The Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines is responsible for managing the project, which is scheduled for completion early next year.

"This project aims to improve the livelihoods of people living in rural towns and villages," a representative from the Ministry said in a statement. "It is hoped the project will be replicated in order to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in Eritrea and provide access to reliable power 24/7."

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