ABB to build hybrid-solar microgrid for Red Cross in Africa

Various African nations are taking to innovative power solutions to solve a lack of reliable energy across much of the continent. Solar is playing a big role in these solutions, as we see off-grid and mini/micro grids spreading across numerous African countries, especially in east Africa.

One of the most recent microgrids to be put into development on the continent is being built by Swiss company ABB for the largest logistics hub of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The microgrid will incorporate both solar power and diesel, to ensure a reliable power supply and to reduce carbon emissions.

It will be the first time that the center in Nairobi, Kenya, will have access to reliable power, as the region suffers from frequent power outages. It is particularly important to supply the hub with uninterrupted power, as it is responsible for delivering food, medicines and relief supplies across the African continent.

“The ABB microgrid solution is in line with the ICRC’s goal to use environmentally friendly technologies,” commented ICRC President Peter Maurer. “Solutions like this are proof that cooperation between the corporate and humanitarian sectors is not only possible, but imperative. We are happy and proud to count ABB as a member of our corporate support group.”

Microgrids are becoming increasingly popular in Africa, where they can offer practical solutions to regions that do not have access to reliable power. A report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), released yesterday, highlighted significant investment in mini/micro grids in east Africa during 2015, predicting that more and more will be developed on the continent over the coming years.

“We are delighted to partner and support the humanitarian work of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “Microgrids have enormous potential in Africa, where more than 600 million people live without access to electricity. Reliable access to electricity is essential to speed up economic development.”

Other news coming out of ABB today was the completion of its share buyback program of a total of 171,335,000 registered shares. The buyback program has been going on for two years now, after originally being announced in September 2014. The buyback constitutes 7.4% of its issued share capital, and was purchased for approximately USD 3.5 billion.