05 March 2014, Dar es Salaam – Access to energy is essential for the reduction of poverty and promotion of economic growth. Communication technologies, education, industrialization, agricultural improvement and expansion of municipal water systems all require abundant, reliable and cost-effective energy access.
Nearly two billion people across the world live off-grid, with no access to electricity.
Millions of households in rural areas of Africa, where electricity is either scarce or too costly to distribute widely, rely on different sources to get energy whereby the majorities rely on charcoal and kerosene.
However extensive use of charcoal and fire wood exhausts natural resources and degrading productive land; and while their availability is declining against the demand of a growing world population.
Currently, billions of people are confronted with energy related challenges including access, reliability and cost.
The ‘energy poverty’ is not only a challenge for consumers but one shared with the enterprises. Since solar as a source for renewable energy is clean and free, African nations can protect their people, environment and their future economic development by using renewable energy sources to this end they have a number of possible options.
Many African countries receive on average 325 days per year of bright sunlight. This gives solar power the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa without the need for expensive large scale grid level infrastructural developments.
In Tanzania, over 90 per cent of Tanzania’s energy requirements are met by biomass, primarily firewood and charcoal. It is unlikely that access to the electrical grid in Tanzania will be greatly improved in the shortto- medium term.
Hence the majority of Tanzanians continue to rely on less efficient and traditional energy sources. Poor households spend up to 35 per cent of their resources to meet domestic energy needs through the use of biomass fuels (fire wood, charcoal).
Most households use inefficient stoves that have poor energy conversion rates which lead to high inhouse air pollution, more time and money in fetching biomass fuels, effecting mainly women and children and high pressure on natural resources available.
– Tanzania Daily News