7 days off the grid: weekly offgrid news


The Australian reported that AUD $5.5 million (US$4.3 million) of support had been announced for Hydro Tasmania to help develop an AUD $12.9 million (US$10.1 million) off-grid hybrid project on Flinders Island. The project will reportedly be a mixture of solar, wind, diesel, storage, and enabling technologies. It is set to be completed in November 2016 and should reduce the amount of diesel consumed by the island by more than 60 per cent. Flinders Island sits off the north-eastern tip of Tasmania.

Azuri Technologies announced a strategic partnership with Tigo and Lotus Africa to bring pay-as-you-go solar and mobile payment services to Tanzania. The partnership, the backbone of which is Tigo's Pesa money payment system, aims to reach 100,000 customers in the next two years. Customers of the triad of companies will pay for their electricity in increments using top-up credit purchased weekly. The venture was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan have announced a nine-month plan to equip up to 5,800 households across 200 villages with off-grid solar. The total cost of the project is slated to be 400 million rupees (USD $3.94 million). Households will receive a 200-watt solar panel and two batteries among other equipment. The project was announced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and is reportedly set to generate 1.2 MW. The scheme is part of former cricket star Imran Khan's Green Growth Initiative.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is supporting the government of Benin in increasing access to off-grid power. Grants between $100,000 and $5 million are being awarded under a joint programme with the Beninese government. Proposals are now invited from companies and non-profit organisations around the world. Grants will be available to cover up to 65 per cent of the capital cost of projects, with the project sponsor expected to cover the remainder.

Solar Phillipines has made Robinsons Place Palawan the world’s largest off-grid mall, according to a report on ABS-CBNnews. The mall, which is situated on the island of Palawan, now has 4,710 solar panels and 39 inverters. It is predicted that the 1.2 MW plant will provide a quarter of the mall’s energy needs.

Australian entrepreneur Simon Hackett has announced plans to take his multi-million dollar office complex off-grid. The move will be made possible with technology from Hackett’s own company called Redflow. The office space, Base64 in Adelaide, will have 60 modules that will provide 300 kW of power and 660 kWh of energy storage. Implementation of the project is scheduled to begin later this year and is predicted to cost $1 million, according to Gizmodo.

Business giants The Coca-Cola Company and Ericsson have announced a pilot scheme in Rwanda to bring mobile connectivity to its Ekocenters, an ongoing project between the drinks company and Berlin-based Solarkiosk. The project, which sees Solarkiosk’s booths placed in developing countries around the world, has been running for over a year. The pilot scheme will also be conducted in collaboration with Tigo Rwanda.

Nigeria‘s Bank of Industry is to launch a new off-grid electricity concept, according to AllAfrica. The Lagos-based bank is working to secure licenses for the product, with assistance from the Ministry of Power. There is no official or unofficial word yet on whether the concept includes solar. However, it it would seem pretty certain given the direction that the market is moving in. The Bank of Industry is a development financing institution, with three-quarters of its equity being held by the International Finance Corporation.

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