Solar Energy Expands Its Reach in Developing World
There are new signs that solar energy is increasing its global presence in the energy marketplace. Its ability to satisfy small, remote energy loads makes it a popular choice for power generation in developing regions of the world. Phaesun GmbH, a German solar power company specializing in off-grid installations, is building ten solar power plants in the Koudougou Region of Burkina Faso. These installations, which are expected to be finished by the end of March, will power telecommunications facilities in this West-African country's rural areas.
Phaesun received the bid last February when the African telecommunications company Telecel Faso expressed interest in replacing some of its older diesel-driven generators with less expensive solar technology. According to Telecel, Phaesun's solar panels will pay for themselves in two years by saving the company the equivalent of about $40,000 in diesel costs. Global Solar Technology reported that each of the ten power plants consists of 108 monocrystalline solar modules from ET Solar and batteries from Hoppecke. Each system has a total output of 9.18 kilowatts.
Solar energy technology is particularly well-suited for meeting energy needs in remote, developing regions of Africa. As a whole, the continent receives some of the world's highest rates of solar radiation, allowing even relatively inefficient and inexpensive solar panels to generate significant amounts of electricity. In addition, many developing African countries lack the capital and energy infrastructure necessary to support large, centralized power plants. Smaller distributed energy stations are therefore more practical and economically feasible.
The solar power project in Burkina Faso illustrates the range of benefits that solar power can have in meeting global energy needs. Solar technology is useful for bringing inexpensive energy to remote corners of developing countries. Phaesun's work shows that the industry is maturing, expanding its reach, and tapping into evolving market opportunities.