• rogeap@ecowas.int

Electrification of public infrastructure

Light for reading, electricity for refrigeration food and medication, the energy capacity to use a computer and access the Internet, and Conducting research, using medical equipment such as microscopes and centrifuges – these are just some of the activities that require access to a reliable power source in a health or education center.

However, worldwide, tens of thousands of healthcare facilities have little or no electricity , and nearly one child in three attends a school without electricity .

A focus on sustainable services, not kWh - Designing for sustainability with a service-based model

Key concepts:

  • Access to energy is fundamental to meaningful education and comprehensive healthcare.
  • Off-grid solar systems can help electrify public facilities in many rural communities.
  • Ongoing operation and maintenance are essential to the longevity of all energy systems.
  • The transition to a solar energy service model supports affordable, sustainable and reliable electrification.
  • Remote monitoring can help drive the service model forward.

Our team works with internal and external partners in several sectors to help design off-grid energy access projects with a focus on health and education services as a goal of electrification. Every energy system that enables basic community services must have a long-term sustainable maintenance plan. Without it, systems that should last a decade or more can falter after the first few months or years, resulting in economic losses and environmental waste – and, above all, disruption of the crucial services they were built to provide.
A service-based model that focuses on providing electrical services, rather than simply supplying solar energy systems, ensures that systems are maintained over the long term.

For off-grid solar systems, remote monitoring can now measure power supply, battery status and energy consumption, and send real-time maintenance alerts to site personnel, solar technicians and government departments.

Remote monitoring can also form the backbone of a contract model in which companies receive payment instalments each month, after the monitoring system has verified that electricity has been reliably delivered to site in line with established and agreed key performance indicators. This approach can increase the impact of donor organizations, ministries, NGOs, financial organizations and the private sector, by ensuring that solar equipment remains viable throughout its expected lifetime – meaning that teachers and clinicians can focus on education and healthcare, with the certainty that electricity will be there to support them.