Off-grid weekly digest

The International Financing Corporation launched Lighting Pakistan this week. The scheme, which is supported by UKAID and Australia AID, will look to raise awareness among households about alternative fuel sources, including those from off-grid solar. Business Recorder reported that Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar attended the launch ceremony yesterday, where he announced that the national economy had stabilized. Mr Dar referred to the IFC’s ‘Pakistan Lighting Consumer Perceptions Study’, which revealed that $2.2 billion was being spent in Pakistan each year on off-grid lighting products. Pakistan’s solar economy is on the rise, as this piece on The News elucidates.

A team from Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology invented a solar water system that desalinates water in order to make it drinkable. The system relies on electrodialysis to remove salt and make water drinkable, according to reports that ran in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. The system came first at the Securing Water for Food Challenge held in New Mexico, winning the Desal Prize in addition to a $140,000 grant. The system is currently able to filter over 2,000 gallons of water each day. The team hopes to eventually develop an $11,000 model that could be deployed across villages.

Ghana is set to receive $40 million of funding from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) after its investment plan to transform and promote its renewable energy sector was given unanimous endorsement. The money is set to come from the CIF’s Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries. The program is structured around renewable energy mini-grids and off-grid PV, solar PV-based net metering with storage, utility-scale PV and wind power generation, and a technical assistant project supported by the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa. Ghana had pledged to provide universal access to electricity by 2016, with 10% renewables four years after that. The $40 million funding is set to be buttressed by $53.5 million in support from the African Development Bank and other developmental partners.

Toyota is looking to repurpose the battery packs in its electric vehicles as storage options for off-grid electricity. The company is currently running a trial with the Yellowstone National Park to test an 85 kw hour energy storage system built with battery packs. The system, which combines 208 batteries with a brand-new 40 kilowatt peak solar array is reported by Transport Evolved to provide all-day electricity. There is a lot more technical detail in the original report, which can be found here.

There is some disagreement within the Australian media as to whether Tesla’s Powerwall will change the industry. ABC Australia said that the electricity industry was to undergo a ‘massive transformation’ due to the advent of storage facilities like Elon Musk’s baby, which was launched recently. ABC Australia reports that the high take-up of solar PV down under and the current high cost of electricity will put Australia at the forefront of a changing economy. However, there is disagreement, according to 7News, which reported that a group of experts meeting in Canberra pronounced that batteries capable of allowing people to go completely off-grid are still years away from being developed.

And finally¬Ö

Renovagen is now offering a sneak peak of its Roll-Array Off-Grid Solar Energy System on professional networking site, LinkedIn.

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