Review of a Solar Project in Rural Cote d’Ivoire
Providing electricity to remote villages is one of the key objectives of the Government of Cote d’Ivoire using renewable energy to create mini-grids. One of the latest projects is the 7-solar hybrid mini-grid in the Zazan region.
We interviewed Azimut 360, the project manager company in charge of the installation of the mini-grids for all the villages.
The company got involved in the project through formulating a proposal following a call for proposals from Energy Facility II, a joint European and ACP countries program (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) established in 2005, aiming at co-financing projects increasing access to modern and sustainable energy services for ACP countries. Thanks to their previous knowledge of running projects in Africa (The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Tchad, Mali, Angola and Morocco so far), they managed to get the funding for this project.
Although Azimut 360 faced a number of issues with the local partners,
Azimut360 advised that the key component for their success comes down to the quality and the role of the local partner. For this project, they collaborated with the NGO Akwaba (welcome in Ivorian) to which the responsibility of the social and economic aspect of the project was given. That being said, the organisation faced a number of issues with their local contacts but still managed to overcome any difficulty.
To facilitate the implementation of the project on the ground and better communication with locals, engineers sent to Cote d’Ivoire were both fluent in English and French. The project was financed as described below:
The total capacity for the 7 micro-grids is218,4 kWp. Batteries allow storage of energy for night use. Each installation has a generator that guarantees service if the weather conditions are unfavourable.In addition, 17200m of electrical network was deployed to provide subscribers and new public lighting. For each household, the electricity meters control and limit the electricity consumption.Thanks to the GbrekoKanian project, the 7 villages produce, distribute and consume their own energy
For each village, an association was created to manage the micro-grid. Each association involved the following local community representatives:
- A president,
- A book keeper,
- A representative of women,
- A representative of the youth
- A representative of the most senior members of the community
Such set up guarantees the involvement of the community and ensure the auto-management of the local micro-grids. The members of each association are composed of the subscribers to the grid network.
Additionally, a Federation grouping the 7 local associations has been created to strength and stimulate synergies amongst the 7 villages.In each village, a community “office” serving as a services hub for the village was created. Among the many benefits of the village for the local population, the various micro-grids provide electricity to:
• 698 households
• 6 schools
• A health centre
• 7 wheat mills
• 7 water pumps
• 336 street lights
In addition, the project created 11 jobs of technicians and new possibilities for the local youth with potential for development of local businesses.
Other contributions for local communities relate to public lighting, and women, in special concern, received major benefits from electrical water pumps.