African Physics Newsletter

ANSOLE: African Network for Solar Energy

For almost ten years, an international network has been working to reenforce capacities in solar energy conversion and renewable energies in Africa.

ANSOLE was initiated on the 4th November 2010 in Sousse, Tunisia and later launched on the 4th February 2011 at the Linz Institute of Organic Solar Cells, at the Johannes Kepler University, in Linz, Austria.

The motivation behind formation of ANSOLE is that less than 40% of sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity, despite the present yearly economic growth of Africa being 5.5% to 7%. However, Africa cannot embark on the same path as Europe, USA and China for its development by relying on non-environment friendly energy sources. It is imperative to avoid that path in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for 2016 - 2030. Africa intends to maintain the resolution of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, of constraining the world temperature rise to below 1.5 °C.

Solar energy is aboundant in Africa

The appropriate use of Africa’s abundant solar energy and other renewable energy sources can be regarded as a solution to the African energy problem. This requires highly qualified human resources at all levels. Therefore, ANSOLE aims, first, at fostering technical and vocational education and training in renewable energies at various skill levels for capacity building. S

econdly, ANSOLE is fostering research activities in renewable energy and water conservation among African scientists and non-African scientists involved in the education of African students and experts. Thirdly, ANSOLE is engaged in promoting and encouraging the use of renewable energy in Africa through public education, sustainable development, business mediation, and environmental protection.

An international network

Currently, ANSOLE has more than 1100 members from 45 African countries and 31 non-African countries (of which 20 are in Europe). In most of these countries, there is an ANSOLE country representative and a regional representative who are in charge of the local ANSOLE events in their countries.

The international coordinator of ANSOLE and project BALEWARE is Prof. Dr. Daniel A. M. Egbe. He is presently guest scientist at the Institute of Polymeric Materials and Testing, Johannes Kepler University.

Individual scientists as well as organizations

Some of the institutional and corporate members of ANSOLE include the International Science Programme, Uppsala University, the Institute of Polymeric Materials and Testing of Johannes Kepler University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, and ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia.

ANSOLE has a strong role in organizing and co-organizing renewable energy events in Africa, and has organized over 40 events since its inception, including worldwide non-ANSOLE events. In terms of training, education and research, it organizes “on-the-spot” scholarships for Bachelor, Masters and PhD students, and mobility scholarships for Master’s and PhD students.

International exchanges and scholarships

Its three exchange programmes are Intra-African Exchange, Africa-North Exchange, and Africa-Latin America Exchange. It serves as an intermediary for students and researchers from Africa and elsewhere to African and non-African research institutions, and facilitates research proposals within Africa as well as between Africa and Europe.

It has organized study visits in Germany and elsewhere, and undertakes renewable energy public education and dissemination of information. An ANSOLE project is coordination of the BALEWARE Platform, which bridges Africa, Latin America and Europe on Water and Renewable Energy applications.

For more, see https://www.ansole.org/, www.baleware.org.

Daniel Ayuk Mbi Egbe and Benjamin Victor Odari

This article has first been published by the African Physics Newsletter.

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