PeopleSuN: Optimizing off-grid electricity supply systems in Nigeria
10. July 2020
C-BEAR+ Fellows start (remote) guest stay at RLI
10. July 2020

Research project PeopleSuN improves access to electricity in Nigeria

10.07.2020 | Yesterday’s kick-off meeting of the consortium marks the start of the three-year research and development project PeopleSuN. PeopleSuN stands for “People Power: Optimizing Off-Grid Electricity Supply Systems in Nigeria” and aims to improve access to reliable and sustainable energy in previously underserved regions in Nigeria.

Access to electricity for all is a Sustainable Development Goal

Universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy is the seventh United Nations goal for sustainable development (SDG7). At present, more than 600 million people in Africa are still not or not sufficiently supplied with electricity. However, this would be a basic prerequisite for further social and economic development and is regarded as an important milestone for the continent in development cooperation. In Nigeria, rapid growth of the private sector could support the government’s efforts to achieve SDG7 – this, too, is one goal of PeopleSuN.

The project develops rural electrification strategies using off-grid photovoltaic systems – a renewable energy supply independent of the national grid. It is not only about technical solutions, but especially about developing an understanding of local needs and realistic financial frameworks in order to optimize the use of off-grid systems. Finally, recommendations for economic supply models and concrete political measures will be derived from this.

Lack of data as a barrier to rural electrification

PeopleSuN follows on from a definition project carried out by the RLI 2019 in Nigeria. Here, a Nigerian partner network was initially consolidated in order to involve as many relevant actors as possible. In addition, household surveys, workshops and interviews with local experts were conducted. Existing data and financing measures were recorded. These soundings revealed that electrification projects in Nigeria particularly often face three challenges:

  1. Lack of information on electricity demand and solvency of potential users
  2. Technical barriers to the dimensioning and optimization of suitable off-grid systems and services
  3. Lack of economically viable deployment models for off-grid electrification

Close cooperation with German and Nigerian partners

PeopleSuN aims to collect the missing data in close German-Nigerian cooperation and to develop open tools and processes with which electrification projects can be planned. These will be directly checked and validated by applying them to existing projects of local academic and industrial partners in Nigeria.

Potential electrification projects were identified during the scoping mission conducted by German and Nigerian partners in January 2019. | Photo: RLI

Partner institutions in Germany are Technische Universität Berlin, the Wuppertal Institute, MicroEnergy International GmbH, and Fosera GmbH&Co KG. Partners in Nigeria are Covenant University, Obafemi Awolowo University, Université Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, PowerGen Renewable Energy Ltd, Creeds Energy Ltd, the Clean Technology Hub Energy Innovation Centre, and the Rural Electrification Agency.
Regular joint workshops are held. As consortium leader, RLI coordinates all activities of the inter- and transdisciplinary project PeopleSuN.

Open Source as a scientific principle

The tools and data created in the project follow the open-source principle and will be freely available after project completion. This is to ensure full transparency and scientific reproducibility.

PeopleSuN receives financial support within the framework of the funding guideline “CLIENT II – International Partnerships for Sustainable Innovations” of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Further information on PeopleSuN can be found on the project website.