Solar-Nano-Grids (SONGs): Energy for Development
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- Both Kenya and Bangladesh due to their proximity to the equator receive plenty of sunshineWhy small-scale community renewable projects are as valuable as large scale projects. This question camePower to the People: Solar energy for Off-grid Communities in Kenya 75% of the Kenyan population have no electricity. That means that in order to get much needed energy, they
What Are Solar Nano Grids?
Solar Nano Grids (SONGs) provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity to small off-grid communities. Currently communities often rely on potentially harmful kerosene and/or diesel to generate power.Our SONGs (usually between 1-10kW) provide an affordable alternative to meet both household (for things like lights, mobile phone charging, radio) and commercial (such as corn mills and egg incubators) needs.
Our Solar Nano Grids (or SONGs) are clean, renewable, and are designed to improve food security, reduce indoor air pollution, raise productivity of natural resources, and enhance conservation landscapes by reducing exploitation of natural resources.
The great advantage of SONGs over other (usually household-focussed) programmes is that they don’t solely focus on the individual, but also bring additional collective community benefits. Our research and development has introduced additional collective community benefits, not available from other programmes, including the establishment of village energy committees, and the implementation of training programmes for the better management of the systems over their lifetime.
By providing clean energy this way, we can improve quality of life, empower women, improve health, increase children's educational attainment, and boost the local economy.
Research Programme – Assessing SONGs as an appropriate solution for meeting community needs
The SONG project is based on solid research, sustainable goals, and extensive community consultation, not to mention robust track record within the team. We make sure that we understand the needs of the people this initiative is designed to benefit in order to ensure long-term sustainable improvements to wellbeing can be achieved.
The initial research programme is a collaboration between INTASAVE Energy, Loughborough University, United International University Bangladesh and the University of Oxford. Funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the aims of the SONG project are to:
- Evaluate the potential of Solar Nano Grids from social, technical and economic points of view as a more effective means to bring electricity to different types of rural communities than has been possible with SHS implementations;
- Develop, implement and evaluate community nano-grids to overcome the limitations of SHS identified through empirical research in a variety of contexts in Kenya and Bangladesh;
- Develop effective business models for scaling up, by taking into consideration country-specific contexts. Prototypes for the enhancement of readily available components are being developed in laboratories where some of the most cutting edge technology in the world is developed - Oxford University, Loughborough University and Nottingham University.
What's the Difference Between Nano and Micro Grids?
In the world of solar and solar photovoltaic (PV) based systems, the terms ‘mini-grid’ and ‘micro-grid’ are well known for stand-alone power generation. Although the terms tend to represent the actual size of the system, there is no universally agreed definition for them. Usually ‘mini-grids’ refer to a size between 50kW to less than 1MW and micro-grids between 5kW to 50kW.