The project's goal is to promote sustainable biomass energy management for positive economic development in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. Although its focus is on Eastern Zimbabwe, if successful it promises to be a model for the integration of large-scale and community/household-scale sustainable biomass energy and ecological management in a number of developing nations. The project will consist of testing, evaluating, and implementing methods for sustainable power generation using the wood waste produced by large, medium and small sawmills operating in the Manicaland region, near the border of Mozambique. Currently, over 70,000 tons of this biomass waste is produced annually. The project's principal objectives will be to examine the technical and economic feasibility of the available alternative biomass energy generation technologies, their effect on the forest-management practices, and the social implications for this region.
In this project we evaluated the performance and condition of single junction amorphous silicon (a-Si) modules used in PV systems installed in Kenya, and used this opportunity to provide additional training and market analysis opportunities for local East African renewable energy entrepreneurs. We carefully surveyed a-Si PV systems and measured PV module performance in each site. We analyzed the data in order to establish the survival rate and performance of a-Si modules in field operating conditions and to identify equipment and institutional options that could benefit the private PV industry and the end-user community in East Africa. We are sharing the results with solar rural electrification projects, manufacturers, dealers and end-users as well as the international development community through publications, correspondence, and regional workshops.
Image: Rural Kenyan woman holding her amorphous silicon photovoltaic panel