The Solar Technologies and Hybrid Mini Grids to improve Energy Access Conference has been put together in an effort to create a more comprehensive, higher impact conference:
The challenge of energy access for all is of enormous magnitude and we have reached a point where joining forces will make a difference in the upcoming years. The general international agreements that are focusing on pursuing sustainable energy for all have to be enforced by actions on the ground. If we are not able to implement renewable energy technologies in combination with energy efficiency measures these international agreements are not going to achieve their potential.
Future energy supply will be based on a smart mix of different technologies in order to cater to people’s needs. Solar radiation is the most abundant source of energy that can be converted into electricity and heat. It is a widely distributed resource that can be harvested and consumed near to where the needs are. Solar thermal systems are able to meet not only the heat demand for all domestic needs like hot water and space heating, but it can also fulfill the heating needs of hotels, hospitals and industrial processes. Photovoltaics, and other renewable technologies such as small wind turbines, mini-hydro, biomass or their hybridization can provide quality electricity to those who do not have access to reliable modern energy services. This helps to significantly improve lives in terms of comfort, communication, health, education and income generating activities. It also opens up new opportunities for businesses and services.
Due to the intermittency of solar radiation, solar energy technologies include storage functionalities in order to make energy available for 24 hours a day. There are a number of new developments in the pipeline and components on the market for storing solar thermal heat and renewable electricity. Control and monitoring technologies and high efficiency appliances are also important enabling technologies where innovation is moving fast.
Whereas solar heating is usually consumed where it is produced, autonomous solar electricity increasingly tends to be integrated as well into mini grids (also called micro grids). Hybrid PV Mini Grids are a cost-effective and a quicker alternative to grid extension or to unreliable grids for many villages.
Therefore, an intelligent mix of the above technologies and micro grids is capable of providing electricity and thermal comfort not only at household level, but also to entire villages, institutions, hotels, and businesses. This also opens the door to bottom up approaches to energy planning and development.
The international character of this conference and exhibition will bring together academia, practitioners, industry and development institutions with the aim of sharing experiences and the latest technology developments, learning from each other and networking.
The objective of the event, and the challenge that participants are facing, is:
ARE is a partner of the event.
ARE Vice-President Michael Wollny will chair the session on "Rural Electricity".