pv magazine’s UP sustainability campaign has investigated the use of lead in PV panels and found, with soldered cell interconnections in particular, viable alternatives are scarce. However, German headquartered manufacturer Opes Solutions has launched a small module for the off-grid market featuring lead-free solder, developed at the request of a customer. We caught up with Opes CEO Robert Händel for a closer look at the module and the challenges and benefits of going lead-free.
The microgrid utility has raised enough capital from Shell New Energies to deploy systems across sub-Saharan Africa.
Industry body Gogla and the World Bank’s Lighting Global program said the last six months set a record for off-grid solar deployment. Solar home systems and other small off-grid appliances are being used in ever larger numbers.
Two high-profile bankruptcies this year could serve as a warning for the potential pitfalls of pay-as-you-go and small scale, off-grid solar. However, Marcus Wiemann and David Lecoque of the Alliance for Rural Electrification say such business models can lead to long-term success and have a key role to play in providing power to the 1 billion people throughout the world who still live without electricity.
PEG Africa, a company offering pay-as-you-go solar to consumers and businesses in West Africa has received a $5 million investment from European Union initiative ElectriFi. The company says it has now secured more than $50 million and plans a major expansion.
German off-grid expert Mobisol has announced plans to cooperate with two energy funds managed by responsAbility, an asset manager specializing in development investments. The deal will fuel further growth for Mobisol in the off-grid pay as you go sector, initially in Tanzania.
Acquisitions within the off-grid solar space are still rare. Mobisol recently acquired Lumeter for their software capability, opportunities for product expansion, and data on customer repayment.
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