Solar-powered Milling Machine Evaluation

This report describes the results of tests conducted to assess the viability of an electric 3-phase 2.2kW Agsol hammer mill, imported from Kenya, for use in rural Maasai communities in Simanjiro, Tanzania. The objectives of the tests were to assess the viability of powering the mill from offgrid (solar) energy technology, and (for different mill …

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A Solar powered Electric Milling Machine

Milling machine

Many of the communities we work with are agricultural, with maize flour contributing to an integral part of their diet. In the rural Maasai Tanzanian communities we work with, villagers often have to travel miles to neighbouring towns to access a diesel milling machine. Once there, they can face long waiting periods for sufficient customers …

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Innovative Access to Healthcare for Impact in Remote Communities

Doctor and Nurse using tele-health system

STI4D, a sister company to SVRG, is carrying this project out jointly with our NGO partners in Tanzania, Orkonerei Maasai Social Initiatives (OMASI). This project is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. Access to good healthcare is often challenging in the developing world, but this is greatly compounded for people living in remote off-grid …

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Bucket-mounted Solar Systems

Solar panel systems can be expensive and time-consuming to build. They can require specialist knowledge to set up, and be difficult to maintain. In rural communities, it can make a huge difference if a solar panel system can be made simply and at a lower cost. That’s why Smart Villages is always on the lookout …

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The InnovateUK Energy Catalyst and working with SVRG partners

Recently, we were invited to give a presentation by our colleagues at the UK Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (UK LCEDN), as part of a webinar they were running on “Transforming Energy Access” for organisations who were interested in applying for the latest Innovate UK Energy Catalyst (round 8) competition, closing in September 2020. …

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What we mean by Community Engagement – the SVRG way of working.

Recently our project partners in Lesotho, the Energy Research Centre at the National University of Lesotho, asked us to contribute to a week-long Masters’ students event on rural energy access. Because of COVID, we were sadly unable to make it in person, but delivered the presentations via Webex instead. Here is the contribution from Dr …

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The SVRG approach – what are we all about?

Recently our project partners in Lesotho, the Energy Research Centre at the National University of Lesotho, asked us to contribute to a week-long Masters’ students event on rural energy access. Because of COVID, we were sadly unable to make it in person, but delivered the presentations via Webex instead. Here is the contribution from Dr …

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Demand-side Modelling in Somaliland with the Minigrid Game

SVRG is carrying this project out jointly with our partners non-profit Energy Action Partners in Malaysia, and innovative private sector minigrid developer Clear Sky Power in Somaliland. This project is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. Worldwide, renewable energy minigrids hold great promise for providing electricity to over 1 billion people who are still …

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Sustainable Minigrids in Lesotho (STI4D)

This project is being carried out by SVRG’s sister company, STI4D, in collaboration with local offgrid energy company MOSCET, the National University of Lesotho, and technical lead Gram Oorja, an experienced community minigrid and rural technology company based in India. This project is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. At a national electrification rate …

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Minigrids and Integrated Anchor Loads in Rural Uganda

SVRG is carrying this project out jointly with our partners in Uganda, social enterprise EcoLife Foods, and community NGO Kiima Foods. This project is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation Agency under the Energy Catalyst Round 7 programme. Worldwide, there are more than 800m people living without any access to electricity. In Uganda, only 10% …

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Innovation Africa-style

One thing that the Smart Villages model is based on is the notion of “appropriate technology” – that is the use of technologies that are specified and optimised based on their context and utility, rather than their absolute efficiency or performance. The classic example is the use of, say, an off-the-shelf lead acid battery instead …

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Removing Waste Plastic from the Nairobi-Athi River System in Kenya

SVRG is carrying this project out jointly with our partners Chemolex in Kenya. This project is jointly funded by the Coca Cola Foundation and UCSB’s Benioff Ocean Initiative, as part of the Clean Currents Coalition. x

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Unbalanced 3-phase power nearly killed the radio

So let’s start by stepping back a little. Our innovative partners, OMASI, have set up a number of different productive, social and community projects on their main site in the village of Terat in the Simanjiro District of Tanzania. There’s a shop, a community meeting hall, and a hostel (originally set up as somewhere for …

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Meetings with Remarkable Trees…

We were delighted to find that one of the many amazing things about working in the Maasai Plains of Simanjiro District, south of Arusha, is the indigenous baobab trees. The baobab, Adansonia digitata, is native to Africa, and classes as one of the biggest trees in the world. Whilst they “only” reach 25-30m in height, …

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Low-cost Efficient Rural Cold Storage in Uganda

SVRG is carrying this project out jointly with our partner in Uganda, social enterprise EcoLife Foods, based in Matugga, north of Kampala. This project is funded by the Efficiency for Access Coalition. Our partners in Uganda, Ecolife Foods, have developed an innovative low-cost local-technology driven cold storage solution, and were finalists in the CLASP/Global LEAP …

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Solar Boma Systems should be a thing

For the Maasai, the traditional living unit is the boma. This is an extended, or multi-family compound surrounded by a thorn hedge (usually), which will contain between 3 and 10 houses. There is an inner circular compound, also surrounded by a thorn hedge, to keep the livestock safe during the night. Satellite photos of the …

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Integrated Community Energy in Northern Tanzania

SVRG is carrying this project out jointly with our NGO partners in Tanzania, Orkonerei Maasai Social Initiatives (OMASI). This project is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. Minigrids are widely advocated as the most appropriate solution for solving universal energy access in the developing world. However, few minigrids achieve sustainable long-term operations without subsidy. …

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Webinar: Resilience and reliability of energy projects in Nepal

webinar

The successful provision of energy services depends on the creation of resilient and reliable energy projects. Their resilience depends on the whole system’s ability to handle shocks and stresses, such as natural hazards and the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, the reliability of schemes depends on the on-going relationship between communities and technology. This can, …

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Webinar: Minigrid Impact and Long-Term Sustainability of Energy Access

[:en] The number of Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) systems, particularly for rural electrification, is growing globally and estimate suggest that 45% of the new connections needed to achieve universal electrification by 2030 will come from mini-girds. However to date a widely accepted and comprehensive methodology to assess the impact and long term sustainability of these …

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Webinars: “Transforming Energy Access”, the 7th Annual LCEDN Conference 2018

[:en]The 7th LCEDN Annual Conference on the theme of ‘Transforming Energy Access?’ took place from 30 May – 1 June 2018. This year, in addition to attendance in person, LCEDN in partnership with Smart Villages allowed remote participation in many of the conference session via webinar, for those who were unable to join us in …

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