Black People : West African Sun Power


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Oct 4, 2009
owner of various real estate concerns
Africa - Solar panels light up remote villages

By Koffigan E. Adigbli | Last updated: Nov 21, 2011 - 11:54:54 AM

DAKAR (IPS/GIN) - Frequent power cuts have led people in rural areas of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal to turn to solar energy for electricity.
Promoters of solar panels say more than 80 villages in Senegal are already benefiting from this renewable energy source; in neighboring Mali, more than 150 communities are enjoying solar power.
According to solar manufacturer Sustainable Power Electric Company (SPEC), based in Senegal, photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, have been a potential solution for electrification in rural areas for years, with only the relatively high cost of installation preventing widespread adoption in West Africa.
But Mamadou Saliou Sow, director of SPEC, explains that a generous subsidy is now bringing the panels within reach of many more in Senegal.
“A square meter of photovoltaic cells previously cost 650,000 CFA francs (around $1,350), but with a subsidy from the government of more than four billion CFA (around $8.3 million), we have reduced this. Now one can get panels and the hardware needed to install them for 300,000, even 250,000 CFA ($520),” Mr. Sow told IPS.
“And solar panels also have a long life span after installation; they can last eight or ten years or more.”
SPEC manufactures panels with outputs ranging from 50 watts to more than 300 watts, meaning they can meet nearly all needs. As well as providing lighting in homes and schools, solar panels are powering fridges, improving security, and supporting small collective enterprises and mini-power plants.

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