- Prof. E. Matlotse, 30 July 2018
Various stakeholders from different entities, led by the Department of Energy (DoE), converged on the Maruapula Secondary School to conduct a site visit of the school’s solar thermal installations which were 50% sponsored by the Solar Thermal Training and Development Initiative (SOLTRAIN).
Also in attendance was Ms. Helvi Ileka from the Namibia Energy Institute, SOLTRAIN’s Namibian country partner.
The installations at the school involved the refurbishing the existing solar heating system at the boys’ hostel and installling new solar thermal systems at the girls’ hostel.
The proceedings started with the principal of the school, Mr. A. Taylor giving a welcoming address. In his address, he thanked the Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) and the SOLTRAIN project sponsors (Austrian Development Agency and OPEC) for their support.
CERC Director, Prof. E. Matlotse, outlined the SOLTRAIN project achievements to date and thanked the school and the SO SOLAR (Pty) Ltd for partnering in the project.
Ms. K. Giffard of SO SOLAR (Pty) Ltd, took the attendees through how they, as a company, executed the installations from start to finish. She emphasised that an important thing to note was that they had been beneficiaries of the SOLTRAIN training programme, and had thus become elligible to apply for SOLTRAIN funding to kickstart the project. They then approach the school after consulting its respective management and they were successful. Finally, they executed the installations. She also took time to thank the school management, CECR and the project sponsors.
After the speeches, attendees conducted a tour of the installations. Proceedings were closed by Mr. H. Ngwenya of Capricon Solar (Pty) Ltd. In his closing address, he thanked everyone who came to this important occasion and encouraged all stakeholders in the solar thermal technology space nationally to work towards realising the Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap (BSTTR). He added that even though it will be challenging, it is still achievable!Samson Mhlanga, 30 July 2018
The National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe’s SOLTRAIN country partner, exhibited and presented at the International Environmental Day’s commemoration held in late March at Milton Primary School, Bulawayo.
Other organisations present included the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education represented by the Provincial Education Director - Bulawayo Province, Bulawayo City Council Parks, Alliance Française de Bulawayo, Environmental Management Agency, Forestry Commission, Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition, Zimbabwe Water Authority, Meteorological Department, National Parks and Wildlife Department, Zimbabwe Tree Ambassador and various Primary and Secondary Schools.
The objective was to use a single day to commemorate a number of significant global environment events occurring in March, including Africa Environmental Day, World Wildlife Day, International Forest Day, World Water Day, World Meteorological Day and Earth Hour Day. The commemoration involved raising awareness of the different days and their importance through presentations, followed by Quiz Time for the students.
These sessions were then followed by a practical demonstration by Mr G Munhuwamambo and Eng A. Mnkandla of the Solar Thermal Technology which offered practical solutions to challenges common to all the environmental days.
The gathering was concluded with a symbolic tree-planting ceremony. The event was sponsored by Alliance Française de Bulawayo represented by their Director, Mr Durand-Massé. Mr J Zvaita (Programme Director of Zimbabwe Climate Change Coalition), Mrs S B Ncube (Deputy Provincial Education Director), Eng S Mhlanga (SOLTRAIN-NUST Representatives), Mr D. Ndlovu (EMA) and Mr S Dube (BCC) also presented at the event.Khothatso Mpheqeke and Karen Surridge, 30 July 2018
The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum is the premier Sustainability Week event for city leaders on the African continent and key challenges threatening growth and development in Africa are addressed, including issues such as rapid urbanisation, energy and water access and stresses, sanitation, the global economic slowdown, rising unemployment and social inequities, trade facilitation, connectivity, land and biodiversity degradation, amongst others, as well as the significant and growing impacts of climate change.
The conference and exhibition has a broad audience base with the exhibition not only visited by professional delegates within the sustainability space, but also by the public and students, and is thus an important means of spreading information to a wider audience.
Due to the profile of this event, SANEDI often fields requests from the media for interviews, and Dr Karen Surridge, SOLTRAIN programme lead for South Africa in Gauteng, was approached to do an interview about Sustainability as a broad concept.
She utilised the platform to speak about the SOLTRAIN programme and used solar water heating as an example of sustainable renewable energy-based technology.
The link for the interview is provided on the SOLTRAIN website and/or can be accessed here (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=6VfZP2U7MuE).Prof. E. Matlotse, 30 July 2018
The University of Botswana Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) held the Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) project’s second dissemination training course at the end of May, 2018.
Ten individuals were trained, including four from the Department of Energy (DoE). Two of the DoE participants were permanent staff members and two were attached students from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology. Another two participants were technicians from the Maruapula Secondary School and, with an additional two individuals from Pumping Fuel company. The remaining two participants were private individuals.
In the opening address, Prof. E. Matlotse restated that this was the second of the five training courses which are planned for SOLTRAIN III
The first training course was held in the third quarter of 2017 in which 20 Ministry of Basic Education technicians coming from all the 9 national districts were trained. The next training course will be held in Maun.
Prof. E. Matlotse added that the project is intended to position the country to be able to implement the Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap (BSTTP) which is one of the key outputs of SOLTRAIN. In turn, the country would make gains in the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, thereby contributing to climate mitigation.
The second training course was three-days in duration, with participants being awarded certificates upon completion.
The training was administered by the UB team under the CERC and included the efforts of were Prof. E. Matlotse, Prof. A. Obok Opok, Mr. O. T. Masoso, Mr. O. Seretse and Mr. M. Lethapa.Malealea Lodge, 30 July 2018
In 2016, Bethel Business Community and Development Centre (BBCDC) installed five 150 litre solar water heaters as a pilot project at Malealea Lodge. After monitoring and evaluating the project for 6 months, a decision was taken by the lodge to install another five systems in 2017, again with BBCDC’S help.
Through monitoring, it was found that the geysers were effective for at least 300 days of the year, and during this time, produced a wholly adequate amount of hot water for the establishment’s guests.
During the rainy season, when a lot of overcast conditions occur, the output of the solar geysers needs to be carefully monitored. When the solar output is not sufficient, staff at the lodge switch back to the original gas geysers as a backup. The system was designed so that the change over is extremely simple.
The savings on gas has been significant due to the ample amount solar radiation the lodge receives for much of the year, and plans are afoot to install another 10 systems in the not too distant future.Khothatso Mpheqeke and Karen Surridge, 30 July 2018
The 18th annual African Utility Week hosted 6 411 attendees over 3 days from 84 countries and 300 exhibitors from 30 different countries. The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) was one of the exhibitors for the 2018 African Utility week showcasing various projects implemented through SANEDI, including the SOLTRAIN programme.
The African Utility week is an international conference hosted annually, providing the largest gathering of energy and water professionals focused on all aspects of provision of energy services to the African market, where attendees can source solutions, generate business and connect with new and existing energy markets. SANEDI participates at this conference annually, through speaking and/or exhibiting.
This year, various stakeholders approached the SANEDI exhibition stand, many of whom were aware of the SOLTRAIN programme and had benefited from it since the first phase through training, knowledge sharing and networking and system installations. SOLTRAIN promotional material was widely distributed and the project received great interest.Tawanda Mushiri and Samson Mhlanga, 30 July 2018
Energy is essential to economic growth and poverty reduction in Zimbabwe and the national drive to eradicate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires skilled professionals to manage and implement energy development projects. While basic knowledge is imparted in the undergraduate program, there is need for specialization to successfully implement renewable energy projects.
The serious energy security challenges being faced by the country point to increased demand for renewable energy experts, preferably at postgraduate level, who would service all sectors related to demand and supply of energy in Zimbabwe.
The academic programme was suspended by the University in 2012 due to dwindling numbers of lecturers and supervisors who were qualified to offer MSc programmes. Recently however, the Department of Mechanical Engineering engaged partners in the region and beyond, to provide qualified complementary personnel as a short-term measure to allow the programme to run while staff development efforts are intensified to support the training of academics in order to attain PhD qualifications in the renewable energy field.
The partners include:
- Africa EU Renewable Energy Co-operation Programme (RECP).
- European Union Energy Initiative
- University of Dar es Salaam
- Technical University of Munich (TUM)
- Makerere University
The purpose of the MSc is to provide high quality postgraduate education in the field of renewable energy so that participants develop proficiency in renewable energy project design, implementation, operation and maintenance, as well as in crucial phases of policy generation. There is also scope for focussed research on renewable energy-related topics.
The re-launched masters degree builds on the Mechanical Engineering Department’s other efforts towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, its participation in the Solar Thermal Training and Development Initiative (SOLTRAIN). Through the initiative, the department will be able to capitalise on the programme’s regional knowledge network, as well as have the use of the SOLTRAIN solar thermal demonstration trailer as well as access to various solar thermal demonstration sites. This will contribute immensely to solar thermal-related learning and research.
The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Energy and Power Development was the guest of Honour where more than 120 participants attended the launch earlier this year.SOLTRAIN Lesotho, 30 July 2018
In order to create income and ensure future sustainability, the Bethal Business and Community Development Centre (BBCDC), with funding and support from SOLTRAIN, has established a solar thermal company in Mohale’s Hoek and has extended its existing workshop.
The workshop is equipped with the necessary tools for the local assembly of solar thermal systems and the welding of stands.
After a diligent procurement exercise, Adendorff Machinery Mart in Bloemfontein was selected as the preferred supplier of the tools and equipment needed for the new venture due to its wide range of stock and proximity to BBCDC.Prof. E. Matlotse, 30 July 2018
The Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Platform (BSTTP) Meeting, held at the end of May, aimed to pave way for the implementation of the Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Roadmap (BSTTR) which was formulated through the SOLTRAIN project. For this meeting, various stakeholders from different establishments, led by the Department of Energy (DoE), convened to deliberate on how best to achieve the huge tasks which lie ahead as part of the roadmap.
The proceedings started with the Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) Director who is also the Chairman of the Botswana Solar Thermal Technology Platform (BSTTP), Prof. E. Matlotse, giving a welcome address to participants. He emphasised that the implementation of the BSTTR is a huge task which needs stakeholders to all work together towards achieving it.
He also urged DoE to play an active and leading role to ensure that the government offers the required support, without which the roadmap will not succeed.
The CERC Director then went on to recap the SOLTRAIN project milestones so far, giving more detail about the formulation of the BSTTR and its implementation plan. He emphasised that the formulation process was a rigorous consultative process which involved stakeholders from beginning to end.
He also emphasised the level of international and regional cooperation, in particular, the SOLTRAIN Conference in Namibia last year and the conference in Gaborone earlier this year. In both of these conferences, SOLTRAIN partner representatives from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe presented their respective country roadmaps which allowed for a sharing of ideas and experiences, and the opportunity to fine tune the countries’ respective roadmaps.
Prof. A. Obok Opok was also on hand to present the BSTTR to the participants, resulting in some robust engagement on how best to implement the roadmap. The following was agreed with respect to the roadmap implementation:
Fenni Shidhika, Helvi Ileka and Zivayi Chiguvare, 30 July 2018
- Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) is to coordinate the entire process encompassing implementation, monitoring and control.
- In two weeks following the meeting, the CERC Director was to constitute a National Task Force drawn from the key stakeholders which would be responsible for implementation, monitoring and control of the BSTTR.
- After constituting the National Task Force, the, CERC Director would inform the BSTTP.
- The NTF would then start work by drawing up the terms of reference and scope of work.
The Namibia Energy Institute presented recent Southern African Solar Thermal Training and Demonstration Initiative (SOLTRAIN) activities and promoted solar thermal energy at the International Conference on Solar Power Systems for Namibia (SPSN18) organized by the University of Namibia (UNAM), earlier this year.
The international conference took place in mid May at the Greta Conference Centre, just outside of Windhoek.
It was attended by more than 100 participants, 90 % of whom were science school teachers from various regions in the country. The remainder of the participants were academic staff, both lecturers and senior students, from local and international universities, private industry representatives and some government officials.
The main objectives of the conference were to:
- Create awareness, share and gain the latest knowledge and development trends on solar energy systems
- Discuss the implementation of cost recovery systems
- Educate high school teachers on the use of solar energy systems for economic and social development, and
- Design, construct and test simple solar thermal systems.
- The conference emphasised the role that solar lighting and simple solar thermal systems can play in providing access to basic energy services.
Other important topics included energy access and development of communities, environmental impact of energy extraction, transport and usage, as well as regional energy usage in Africa as a whole, SADC and Namibia, in relation to global energy usage.
The impact of energy access on health, education, and societal well-being was also discussed, along with various other options for its provision.
Staff from the Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), which is the Namibian implementation partner for the SOLTRAIN, demonstrated various types of solar cooker, including solar box cookers, the parabolic cooker and the solar bakery.
Ms. Helvi Ileka presented NEI activities including key outputs from the SOLTRAIN Project such as the Solar Thermal Roadmap, the Center of Competence activities and the results from the monitoring systems.
The Honorable Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, attended the last day of the conference and gave his words of encouragement towards energy access for all in the country. He emphasized the value of cooperation between all the various energy stakeholders including government, the private sector and academia, and encouraged them to work together in order to overcome access challenges.
The Minister, school teachers and all participants at the conference, were impressed with how the solar cookers cooked delicious meals and the effectiveness of the solar bakery, with the school teachers showing interest in knowing more about the design and manufacture of the solar cookers and bakery in order for them to introduce the concepts to their students. Lecturers from UNAM also indicated their interest in introducing the solar bakery concept at UNAM for student research for those studying towards a Master’s of Science in Renewable Energy.
Participants at the conference had the opportunity to taste the delicious chicken wings and potatoes cooked from solar cookers, as well as bread baked from the solar bakery.
Below are some pictures of the participants attended the conference and NEI staff explaining the solar cookers and the solar bakery to the participants and to the Honorable Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo.Werner Weiss and Monika Spörk-Dür, 7 May 2018
The installation of solar thermal demonstration projects is an important part of the SOLTRAIN programme’s activities. On the one hand, the installations allow the SOLTRAIN community to apply knowledge gained during the training courses, and on the other hand, to show and demonstrate different solar thermal applications from small-scale systems for single family houses to large-scale systems in industrial applications.
The systems also serve as best-practice examples in order to facilitate broader market uptake.A cumulative 221 solar thermal systems with a combined collector area of 2,393 m² had been installed by end of December 2017 in the six SOLTRAIN partner countries.
638 tons of avoided CO2 emissions
The annual solar yield of all solar thermal systems is 1,834 MWh. This corresponds to electricity savings of 2,017 MWh/a and 638 tons of avoided CO21*), and the figures for the individual countries can be seen in the table below.
The avoided electricity cost corresponds to ZAR 4.3 million based on city of Cape Town tariff in 2015 of 213.90 c/kWh including VAT.
At COP21 (United Nations Climate Change Conference), which took place in December 2015 in Paris it was agreed to respond to the global climate change threat by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This can be reached by switching from a mainly fossil fuel-based economy to an energy supply system based on renewables, and the figures outlined above demonstrate the contribution of SOLTRAIN to the COP21 Agreements.
Table: Annual solar yield and corresponding electricity savings as well as avoided CO2 emissions of all solar thermal systems by end of December 2017, which were funded by ADA and OFID and installed in phase I - III of the SOLTRAIN project.
based on oil equivalent 1*)Dr. Edwin Matlotse, 7 May 2018
University of Botswana’s Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC) hosted a successful SOLTRAIN Conference at the University of Botswana (UB) Conference Centre in Gaborone in early February. The event included tours of solar thermal installations in the Gaborone.
The conference kicked off with an address by the UB VC, Prof. David Norris, welcoming participants from institutions and companies from Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He expressed thanks to the SOLTRAIN community and assured the project sponsors that his institution would continue to support their efforts going forward.
In his address, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama, emphasized the reality of climate change and lauded the practical activities that the SOLTRAIN project espouses which go beyond policy. He acknowledged the positive impact that SOLTRAIN activities had in the SADC sub-region, and expressed his thanks.
Mr. Matthias Radosztics, from the Austrian Embassy, emphasised that climate change is on our doorstep and needs effort from everyone in order to mitigate its negative impacts. He commended the SOLTRAIN country partners for coming together at the event and for taking the opportunity to reflect on project outcomes as well as to share experiences and ideas on taking SOLTRAIN forward.
Mr. Werner Weiss of AEE-INTEC highlighted the cumulative contribution of SOLTRAIN to the COP21 agreement in terms of GHG emissions (please see below for a more detailed article on this). Further, Mr. Kudakwashe Ndhlukula of SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) also thanked the project sponsors and outlined ways in which the country partners might sustain efforts when the project draws to a close.
Other notable contributions included Mr. Nico Snyders, from Namibia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, sharing Namibia’s solar water heating experiences with their national housing programme which is assisted by up to 50% grants from the SOLTRAIN project. Ms. Karin Kritzinger of Stellenbosch University spoke the SOLTRAIN student bursary scheme and Mr. Ivan Yaholnitsky (BBCDC) and Mrs. Helvi Ileka (NEI), provided their perspectives relating to their institutions’ co-operation on their solar baking project.
Another highlight of the conference was delivered by the Director of Energy and Environment Partnership for Southern and East Africa (EEP), Mr. Wim Jonker Klunne, who provided an outline of EEP’s funding relating to the participating countries’ roadmaps and their respective implementation.Ivan Yaholnitsky, 7 May 2018
In December, BBCDC put up a large advertising sign in Mohales Hoek at the site of BBCDC’s solar energy sales operation. The sign is just next to the main southern highway and enhances the exposure of SOLTRAIN and our solar energy products and services. We call it a ‘Green Lantern’.
In one of their recent newsletters, The Climate Reality Project gave these four suggestions for action on Climate Change, drawing on the work of professional psychologists studying change processes in a systematic way:
- Connect the climate crisis to what’s happening in real communities to reduce psychological distance.
- Make climate action a group experience to promote social norms.
- Talk about what we’re gaining, not what we’re losing, to avoid loss aversion.
- Give your friends real ways to take action to prevent “environmental melancholia.”
I think they are useful, especially in regard to the broader mission of the SDGs and future work of SOLTRAIN in Lesotho and regionally.
We hope the Green Lantern fits this pattern. We need to get SOLTRAIN into each and every far flung community in Lesotho, and demonstrate that cost effective lifestyle and hygiene solutions are available and feasible. Positive social activities and processes will drive adoption and innovation. It is true that we need to lead with benefits and qualitative enhancements rather than costs.
Finally, we need to provide opportunities for more participation. When a solar water heater is put up on a roof, it should not be done by one or two people. Rather assemble a crowd and let everyone pitch in. Throw a party with hot dogs grilled in a solar cooker. Music and food create lasting memories. I call on my colleagues and friends in SOLTRAIN to embrace the above. Let us go out and win it. The Green Lantern is meant to herald of much better times. Hope for humanity.SOLTRAIN Administrator, 7 May 2018
The project demonstrated an innovative and unconventional solar energy system that garnered the world’s attention according to NUL’s Mr Anadola T’siu, the designer of the system.
This was not the first time the project had received accolades. In 2016, it won second prize at the International Conference on Solar Technologies & Hybrid Mini Grids to Improve Energy Access held in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, at which it was recognised for its potential for alleviating energy poverty in rural Lesotho.
Dimitri Kerkentzes, Deputy Secretary General of the Bureau of International Exhibitions, lauded the project as a concrete example of the core values of both Expo 2017 Astana and Expo ’90, to promote sustainability and environmental protection. Mr. Shinya Kubota of the Expo ’90 added that the project fully embodies the harmonious coexistence of nature and mankind, the fundamental principle of the Expo ’90 Foundation.
The solar energy system offers traditional water heating for general use, space heating (including under floor heating and wall radiation heating) and can also generate electricity using the Organic Rankine cycle, thus eliminating the need for unsustainable and expensive storage batteries.
A published paper on the system can be found at this link. https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/318344342_Construction_and_ Performance_Evaluation_of_A_Low-Cost_Flat- Plate_Solar_Energy_CollectorHelvi Ileka and Rudi Moschik, 7 May 2018
The Namibia Energy Institute (NEI), at the Namibia University of Science and Technology together with AEE-INTEC, have installed the first photovoltaic water heater (PWH) in Namibia using a special DC/AC element for heating the water. The installation is for research purposes under the SOLTRAIN project.
Through SOLTRAIN, NEI has already installed 62 solar water heaters (SWH) at low cost houses in Windhoek’s Otjomuise township between December 2015 and March 2016.
In addition, measurement and verification systems were installed at six houses, four of which had SWH installed while the other two used electrical geysers, and data has been collected and analyzed at these houses since 2016. The installation of PWH now takes the research a step further.
The PWH installation consists of six solar PV modules with a cumulative 1.59kWp capacity which are connected directly to a resistive element for heating a 300l tank using direct current (DC) without an inverter. The element is also able to operate from the house mains AC supply as a backup for when there is not sufficient sun to power the element with solar.
The PWH system was installed at one of the houses which was previously monitored using a standard electrical geyser. Another house, which also used an electrical geyser and which was also previously monitored, was equipped with a thermosyphon unit consisting of a 300l tank and 4m2 collector. Both systems were designed based on the hot water demand per person in the respective houses as analyzed for one year.
This provides a comprehensive research platform for the comparison of SWH and PWH in Namibia, the results of which will be highly informative for both the housing and energy sectors in the country. In addition, the pilot project also be aims at exploring the possibility of adopting the photovoltaic water heating system in off-grid areas where it could be used to provide basic electricity needs including the provision of hot water.
Senior Shimhanda, a Master of Environmental Engineering student at NUS, with a specialization in renewable energy systems, is working with NEI as an intern to work on the pilot project as part of his final research to complete his Masters thesis. He was directly involved in the installation of the two systems and monitoring equipment, and will also collect and analyse the data.
According to Shimhanda, “it is essential to conduct a techno-economic analysis of the existing water heating systems in the Namibian context in order to determine the best domestic water heating technology between SWH and photovoltaic water heating. The outcome of the research will help prospective Namibian consumers choose the most efficient and cost effective solution between SWH and PWH”.
Shimhanda added that the research into the SWH and the PWH aims to answer the following questions:
- Whether existing water heating systems are viable technically and economically
- Their possible impacts on the environment
- The initial capital costs and operation costs of each water heating system
- Which technology is more cost-effective in terms of performance and economic benefits and;
- Which technology is more efficient and less prone to intermittent weather fluctuations.
Mr Nicolas Marembo, the owner of the PWH system who also contributed to its cost, was trained on the functionality of the system and reports that he is happy with the system so far.