Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
Power outages and Power shedding are a normal part of life all over Zambia. Projections by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) indicate that the problem is going to get worse because annual electrical energy production has stagnated at around 45,000 Megawatts in the whole region.
The good news is that Africa is bathed in glorious sunshine for the best part of each year. A square kilometer of the desert receives solar energy equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of oil.
To put this in perspective, Zambia guzzles 16,000 barrels of oil each day (2008 estimates), that’s 5.8million barrels each year. The equivalent of Concentrated Solar Power that can be harnessed from just 4 square kilometers of desert!!
The reality is that we are heavily reliant on oil, whose price keeps spiraling beyond the coffers of most African governments.
Individuals, NGOs and governments all have a part to play in helping to alleviate Africa’s energy woes.
One such organization is Desertec-Africa:
“DESERTEC-Africa is an independent organization that has set itself a mission to get the African continent take advantage of what it has in abundance: – sun energy falling as sunlight on the African deserts to produce what it is in dire need of: – electricity, by means of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), as well as harness wind energy along its coastal regions.
There is enough sunlight falling on Africa’s deserts to power not only Africa and Europe but the whole world also. Therefore, if Africa would harvest just a fraction of solar energy on its deserts and arid sahel region, it would not only meet its immediate acute energy needs but also have enough energy to have its vast mineral resources processed locally, thereby triggering new high level of investment and employment opportunities in the continent.” (Source: http://www.desertec-africa.org/)
There’s a trickle of interest in solar energy but it is gathering momentum. This is a welcome development.
Rural Internet Kiosks, sponsored by Intersat Africa Ltd., are springing up all over sub-Saharan Africa (Source: http://balunywa.blogspot.com/2010/06/first-solar-powered-rural-internet.html).
Macha Works Zambia, in rural Choma, is actively involved in Zambian projects.
Kitwe’s solar power brokers include Davis & Shirtliff (Z) Ltd, on Freetown Road. They have been a major player since opening the Kitwe branch in 2006. They are a distributor for Shell Solar. They have branches in Lusaka and in several African countries.
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