Solar Power and Storage Closing Energy Gap

EGP’s analysis of off-grid electrification in Moroccan villages presented at the Res4Med workshop in Rabat focuses on distributed generation and green energy to increase access to energy and protect the environment.


That renewable energy must be in rural villages has for many years been at the heart of international programmes such as the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All, and the European Commission has made it key to its ElectrificationFinancing Initiative (ElectriFI), which aims to accelerate private investment in electricity access projects carried out in developing countries.

Enel Green Power’s commitment to closing the energy divide is reflected in initiatives and innovations that range from the Ollagüe project, which will see the creation of a self-sufficient micro-grid in the Atacama Desert in Chile, to the open innovation development of the thermodynamic CCHP Trinum system. These initiatives have made EGP a global benchmark in energy access projects, as shown in analysis presented by Marco Raganella, EGP’s Head of Business Development in the Maghreb region, at the recent Res4Med workshop that took place in Moroccan capital Rabat.

Distributed or centralised generation? For countries in the MENA region it has become increasingly important to correctly identify the electrification model best adapted to the needs of development and the consequent increase in energy consumption, while putting into service the large renewable plants that help meet consumption growth and become a driver for sustainable electrification in rural areas.

The analysis of Moroccooffered by Raganella provides indications on the potential of PV solar power in villages in a country where the Global Rural Electrification Program (GREP) launched in 1996 increased electricity coverage from 18 percent in 1995 to 95 percent in 2010. Thanks to this programme, which has been based mostly on the use of diesel engines in individual villages and the installation of off-grid systems, 12 million Moroccans in over 35,000 villages have been given access to electricity and about 100,000 jobs have been created. GREP also saw the distribution of 5,600 solar PV kits in more than 3,600 villages.

The competitiveness attained by PV solar enables the spread of the technology so that it is now being used alongside or instead of diesel engines, bringing obvious environmental, economic and market benefits. The parallel development of storage systems could make this off-grid solution possible without fossil fuels. Economic data presented at the Res4Med workshop best shows the benefits of this new green technology: the combination of PV solar and storage systems can cut energy costs by 15 to 20 percent, while increasing security of supply and avoiding costly investment in the implementation of centralised distribution infrastructure.