Off-Grid Solar Electrification in Africa (UC Berkeley)

Team Members: Louis Kang, Ivan Maric, and Henry Wang

School: UC Berkeley

This project seeks to provide a feasible and sustainable solution for growing energy demand in Africa. Its core innovation is in the village-scale solar power system that is currently being prototyped at UC Berkeley. One team member’s extensive contacts in renewable energy organizations in Ghana gives this team a platform and local access to start implementing pilot systems. Ghana’s growth rates for energy need, population, and development approximate Sub-Saharan Africa’s on a whole, and therefore can be used as a suitable benchmark for testing. This team utilizes an array of inexpensive solar panels to provide remote generation. A predictive back-end will provide energy generation forecasts up to three-days ahead, and will convey expected generation shortfalls through SMS to end-users. Electricity sales will be on-demand and sold via mobile credits, expecting to generate USD $50 per month for a 2kw system.