information, background, contact

The introduction of new energy alternatives is most effective by facilitating income generating activities and by improving social conditions.

Who we are and our objectives.

‘solarafrica.network’ is an independent agency that engages in local community projects, and can serve as assistance to local government institutions, from 2000, in the field of facilitation and implementation of renewable energies and efficient consumption alternatives.

solarafrica.network is registered under the Zanzibar Societies Act; Reg. Number 299

Our office is affiliated to the Department of Commercial Crops, Fruits and Forestry,
Ministry of Agriculture, Zanzibar, Tanzania.

solarafrica.network comprises of the following members:
Said Ali Nassor, Khadija Mohammed Fadhil, Fatma Khamis Ame,
AntjeFoerstle (chairperson), Rainer Yusuf Vierkoetter (director).

It is our aim to ease the social and economic implications of a delicate energy scenario, to improve the environmental aspects
related to energy consumption, and empower novel and sustainable initiatives in the East African Region as an example  for further reproduction.

our contact:

solarafrica.network
PO Box 2264
Zanzibar
Tanzania

e-mail: solarafrica@zanzinet.com

Our programmes’ outline.

Our current programmes focus on the technology and application of ‘solar-thermal’ energy and ‘consumption-efficient alternatives’, aiming to develop further already tested technologies, implementation techniques and availability of resources:

Facilitation of improved and alternative technologies, local manufacture and distribution.

Implementation of applications for the domestic consumer, industrial initiatives and co-operatives.

Co-operation at institutional and industrial level to generate environmentally reponsible development and empower education centres.

Documentation as means to create a pool of knowledge available through internet and literature.

The place for renewable energies.

The overall size of the flow of energy to and from the earth and its atmosphere is vast, mainly driven by the power of the sun. The amount of solar energy incident on the earth annually is equivalent to 160 times the energy stored in the world’s proven reserves of fossil fuels, and equivalent to more than 15.000 times the world’s annual use of fossil and nuclear fuels and hydro power.

The issue is thus not one of availability of solar energy, but of the practicality of converting it to forms suitable for human use. Solar energy can be converted into useful energy using various technologies. It can be absorbed in solar ‘collectors’ to provide space and water heating. Buildings can be designed with ‘passive solar’ features to allow solar energy to contribute to the heating/cooling requirements. Small solar collectors are widely used to supply domestic hot water. It can be concentrated with simple parabolic or funnel mirrors to provide heat at up to several thousand degrees Celsius, and these high temperatures may then be used either for heating or cooking purposes or to generate electricity. Solar radiation can also be converted directly into electrical energy using photovoltaic devices (solar ‘cells’).

The term ‘renewable energy’ is defined as ‘energy obtained from continuous or repetitive currents of energy recurring in the natural environment’ (Twidel and Weir, 1986), therefore ‘energy flows which are replenished at the same rate as they are “used”’ (Sørensen, 1979).

In broader terms it can be referred to as the use of any energy storage reservoir which is being refilled at rates comparable to that of extraction. The ultimate sources of most of this energy are the sun, gravity and the earth’s rotation.

The main channels through which this energy can be extracted for human usage, using current technology are: biomass, hydroelectricity, tidal power, wind energy, wave energy, geothermal energy, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy.


Environmental and social impact

The stress of the present energy situation in the coastal areas of East Africa and the search for sustainable relief solutions are the core of activity that ‘solarafrica.network’ addresses.

Due to a shortage of fuelwood for domestic and industrial use, both society and the environment in rural and urban areas suffer closely related.

Humanitarian impact

A great part of the population within the East African Region live in the rural areas. Many live below the poverty line. For them social and economical improvements mean access to jobs, food, health services, education, housing, running water, etc. In providing for these needs energy becomes an important instrument if directed specifically towards the needs of the poor.

The poor pay a much higher price for their energy that any other group in society. The price can be measured in terms of time and labour, economics and social inequity, especially for women.

‘solarafrica.network’ solutions

The programmes and activities of ‘solarafrica.network’ described in this document focus on the technology and application of ‘solar-thermal energy’ and ‘energy-efficient alternatives’ since 1999. The programme’s aims are to further develop existing technologies, implementation techniques and availability of resources. Our main areas of activity are:

Facilitation of improved alternative technologies, through continuous research and testing of solutions that will be appropriate at rural/urban domestic level, and assist in developing the infrastructure for local manufacture of such technologies.

Implementation of these alternatives as a fuelwood shortage relief programme in rural domestic application, building capacity and working with a network of officers, demonstrators and volunteers.

Co-operation at institutional and industrial level to raise further awareness and exploitation of solar thermal renewable energy for the benefit of institutions, businesses and co-operatives.

Documentation of the programme’s contributions for everyone through literature and the internet. We aim to encourage the reproduction of the exercise regionally and to interact with existing groups for co-operation, development and support.

“The traditional methods of addressing energy problems in developing countries provide inadequate solutions. Fortunately, new technological solutions today, which, together with new insight into the essential requirements of development, may help to find the appropriate solutions.”

Cultural exchange and mutual development – solarafrica.network community-based projects as platforms for intercultural understanding

Since 2007/08 solarafrica.network has become a hosting place for young German volunteers coming to Zanzibar for the period of one year. In preparation to their stay they receive a course in history and culture about their host country as well as a language course to prepare them for their work with the projects and their stay with a local family. Since 2008/09 also young Tanzanians can volunteer to stay in Germany, and since 2009/10 also Zanzibar youths can volunteer in Germany to work with renewable energy related projects. All of these young people generally have a good formal education, including general knowledge about renewables, and mainly act as cultural bridgemakers in the respective projects. They can teach and train, but at the same time are taught and trained by the local communities. This leads to an insight into local culture and traditions as well as general and specific (environmental) conditions, laying the foundation for a more profound understanding which will in future be import once these young people have acquired decision-making positions.

This cultural exchange and mutual development programme is sponsored mainly by the German Ministry of International Cooperation (BMZ) and private donors, facilitated through the German-based NGO German-Tanzanian Friendship (DTP) who have been active in Zanzibar since 2000 promoting renewable energies. Apart from solarafrica.network the local NGO Zasea (promoting solar-voltaic energy) provides for vacancies for volunteers.



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