Sub-Saharan Africa

Solar emerging as best bet for West Africa’s future energy mix

The Economic Community of West African States should prioritize the development of solar PV to meet surging energy demand over the next 30 years, according to a newly published study.

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Gambia maintains solar ambition

The country’s power utility has completed the pre-selection process to seek developers for a 20 MW solar project in the Banjul region. The project will feature up to four PV plants and will be developed under the national Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project.

Designing super-strong solar modules for the tropics

An international research team has defined the operational parameters needed to design and manufacture crystalline silicon PV modules for tropical climates. The group proposed a back-junction, back-contact cell tech with a selective laser soldering technique it claims offers the best potential to yield such robust panels.

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Scatec Solar reports limited Covid-19 impact thus far

While it has seen little fallout for its operating PV assets, the Norwegian solar developer says the coronavirus pandemic has started to affect construction, commissioning and testing of some of its new solar plants.

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Solar project to more than double Guinea-Bissau generation capacity

Chinese business Sinohydro has secured the contract for a 20 MW solar plant in Gardete, near the city of Bissau. The tender for the project was launched a year ago.

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South Africa moves forward with 2 GW tech-neutral procurement

The country’s energy regulator published two papers this week to solicit public feedback on plans that Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe recently submitted for review. The first document relates to the tech-neutral procurement of 2 GW of short-term risk-mitigation capacity, which could see solar emerge as a winner due to its quick deployment times. The second paper is linked to the nation’s Integrated Resource Plan 2019, which aims for up to 6 GW of new large-scale solar by 2030, as well as an additional 6 GW of distributed-generation capacity.

South African coal lobby loses court challenge over 2.3 GW of renewables

The country’s top appeals court has dismissed the Coal Transporters Forum’s long-running effort to nullify 2.3 GW of power purchase agreements which financially troubled utility Eskom signed with solar and wind developers in the country’s fourth national tender round years ago.

Human rights risks threaten battery supply chains’ sustainability – now is the time to act

The battery and renewable energy industries are facing increased scrutiny for their human rights impacts. In December, U.S.-based technology and electric vehicle companies were named in the first lawsuit seeking to hold downstream companies responsible for allegedly aiding and abetting child labour in cobalt extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (https://bit.ly/2UgQPgZ). Energy storage technology, such as batteries, is increasingly developed alongside solar and wind-powered electricity generation. This means the battery industry’s material risks are now of direct concern to a broader group of companies involved in the global transition to a low carbon economy.

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UN-backed fund to support solar businesses in Burkina Faso

A fund backed by the United Nations and the government of Luxembourg is helping companies to provide small solar PV systems and innovative cooking stoves in the economically challenged West African nation.

Mozambique kicks off minigrid tender

The Mozambican Energy Fund and the Belgian Development Agency have kicked off a tender to facilitate the construction of five solar minigrids to improve rural electricity access in the southern African nation. Prospective developers have until the end of the month to express interest.

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