Living off-grid used to be something that people had to do to support modern life in remote communities but living without centralised power is becoming an HYPERLINK “https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/22/is-going-off-the-grid-selfish-for-many-its-the-only-option-that-makes-sense” increasingly mainstream concept. This has motivated the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Technology (BITRI) to come up with a new innovation – a solar street light called ‘seding’ which means ‘where there is light’ .
The institution, has already installed the solar street lights in several villages. BITRI’s Chief Executive Officer Professor Nelson Torto recently told members of the press that: “We also anticipate that our collaborations with various councils will be intensified since the facility is ready for production. When we meet next I want to say to you: At BITRI we are off-grid, as we also plan to transform our campuses.”
He said they strongly believe in green practices and the use of renewables.
The street light is designed in such a manner that it saves energy by keeping dim until an object passes by in the radius of seven metres and it turns bright. It costs P5000 per unit and has a lifespan of 25 years. Its battery life lasts 25 years and can go for three days without being recharged.
Quizzed on the feedback they got from their clients, he said most people have given a thumbs up to the dimness. The lamp had other provisions such as surveillance cameras but these had to be repealed because of the strains they bought to gadgets like the battery’s optimisation.
Solar energy is one of the mitigation measures against climate change. Utilization of solar is globally approved as a sure way to reduce emissions of Green House Gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. A report compiled by consultants prior to Botswana’s submission of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) proposed that there should be: “Increase share of electricity generated from solar power plant based on the proposal to construct two 50 MW solar plants at Jwaneng and Ngamiland ;shumba coal also aims at constructing 200 MW plant; additionally, transmission losses will be reduced and hence reduced emission associated with reduced electricity loss.”
It further indicates that for biodiesel blending the target is that by 2030, all diesels in the country be blended with 10% biodiesel for use in transport and agriculture (diesel pumps at the cattle post to use biodiesel. This will require approximately 50 million litres annually
Energy efficiency would involve installation of CFL and LED bulbs with the scenario that by 2030 penetration of CFL will 100 per cent and LED will be 50 per cent.
“On solar geysers, the target is set at 50 per cent penetration level by 2030.This will increase the share of renewable energy and thus contribute to reduced emissions by 2030,” states the report.
With regards to the identified implementation scenario for the mitigation measures, it was indicated that scenario of replacing conventional geyser with solar geysers was too rapid and unrealistic given the cost of solar geysers. Concerns were also raised on switch to solar pump by farms and Water Utilities Corporation. Consequently, it was resolved that solar geyser target must be set at 10 per cent by 2030 while solar pumps target must be set at 50 per cent by 2030.