Bringing Energy to African Countries
By Energy Expert
Friday, February 24, 2017.
Business isn’t always about creating something comfortable that can be done at home or within your local area. Sometimes, business is about taking risks and, contrary to popular belief, the best places to start a business are actually the hardest places. Think of it this way, if there’s a treacherous gold mine that people don’t dare to touch, the first person who is brave enough to dive in and mine that gold is going to have the entire goldmine to themselves until other people realise it’s not as dangerous as it seems. The same applies to business; if there’s something that you believe in, then you have to take the initiative and capitalise on it before other people follow your example.
This is why it’s both a challenging and promising prospect to bring energy to some of the poorest parts of the world such as Niger or Malawi in Africa. Many people aren’t willing to invest in the infrastructure and tools that are needed to bring energy to emerging economies, which is why there’s an untapped goldmine just waiting to be uncovered by people who are brave enough.
Africa is a colossal continent that houses many countries with remote villages and areas that are too far to receive power from grids. As a result, each remote area has to rely on independent sources of power to give them the energy they need to power their devices and appliances. However, more brave business owners are starting to introduce solar panels to remote villages and cities across many poor African countries to give them electricity.
Off-grid power generally means that the power is not connected to a larger system. These small communities are far apart and there’s just not enough manpower to connect them to a larger grid that supports the entire country. Thankfully, the electrical demands of developing African countries aren’t high enough to warrant the construction of massive power stations or nuclear plants, which is why solar energy is such an attractive alternative because it is low-cost, it doesn’t pollute the environment, it is portable and the energy it provides is enough to satisfy the population of each country.
With the recent introduction of solar panels that have integrated batteries, they are also able to continue working and provide an efficient energy source even when the nights are long. If you’d like to find out more information, try out what Oil & Energy Investor has to offer. They have plenty of articles about oil and energy, and it has a tonne of useful information for anyone who is brave enough to kickstart a business in such a prime location.
The Practicality of Solar Panels
With the falling prices of solar panels and their ease of use, an energy revolution is taking place right beneath our noses. Nowadays, solar panels are capable of more than just soaking up energy from the sun. As briefly mentioned before, solar panels can now come with built-in batteries that house the energy to make the solar panel continue functioning during the night or when there are heavy clouds. Previously, the biggest weakness with solar panels was their inability to function at night. Although external batteries have been available for a long time, they are inefficient and typically lose charge during the night when they are needed. In addition to this, much of the energy is lost during the journey it takes to reach the battery and become stored, further reducing the efficiency and making it difficult to justify investing in solar panels to bring energy to remote areas of the world.
However, thanks to recent technological advances and new innovations in solar panel technology, we’re now able to overcome most of these issues. The sun’s rays are now more efficiently converted into energy, we can make effective use of solar panels even during unsuitable conditions, and the overall cost of maintaining and running a solar panel is now much lower than it was a couple of years ago. This makes them extremely practical and effective at bringing power to remote areas in African countries where there is no energy grid and there are large open areas with plenty of sunlight. Considering that solar panels have no moving parts and are generally very durable, it also means they don’t need many repairs and, considering there aren’t many engineers in countries like Burundi and Togo, it makes them perfect for a self-sufficient energy grid.
The Possibility of Hydropower
The continent of Africa has the world’s longest river running through its heart: the Nile. With such a long and beautiful river flowing through countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, the possibilities for hydropower are all too real. Unfortunately, despite being such a long river the Nile has very little water compared to other rivers in the world. This is because the water in the Nile flows through arid areas that contain little to no rainfall. Due to the Nile’s seasonal cycles, it is hard to get a constant flow of hydropower without considering other environmental factors. However, researchers are starting to put their minds together in order to create a sustainable and cost-effective way of introducing hydropower into African countries without upsetting the locals or destroying the natural beauty of the continent.
Hydropower uses the gravitational force of flowing water to generate energy, hence why they are built as dams. The water flows downwards like a waterfall and spins a turbine to generate electricity. The greater the force of the water, the more power is generated which means the Nile isn’t a hundred percent suited for hydropower right now and more research needs to be done to create more efficient means of generating electricity. The advantage of hydropower is that it can run indefinitely assuming that the water never runs dry. However, given the arid environment of Africa, this is yet another problem that has to be solved before hydropower can be utilised.
Unfortunately, hydropower plants are very expensive to build and have to be built professional and to a very high standard. However, countries like Ethiopia are starting to take advantage of the Nile and considers itself the hydropower powerhouse of Africa due to the country’s immense potential for utilising hydropower. As technology advances and more discoveries are made, hydropower will become an attractive option for entrepreneurs that want to bring energy to the many countries that make up the continent of Africa.