“I hope we will see NRC and the whole sector making swift progress to shift away from fossil fuels all around the world. If you can do it in Mankien, South Sudan, you can do it anywhere!”, says country director of NRC South Sudan Alexander Davey.
Mapping by NORCAP
NRC’s regional office in Mankien is now fully solar powered. This is the first of NRC’s nine offices in the country to make the transition from diesel generator to solar panels.
It started last year, when NORCAP solar energy expert Mark Hankins mapped the energy use in the South Sudan offices and suggested how they could turn to renewable energy.
“I would say that it’s a huge change, because in some cases they even have to fly in the fuel by helicopter. So to be able to have your own power supply is great”, Hankins says.
Less pollution, noise and expenses
Fossil fuel reliance is a big problem for the humanitarian sector. Often, organisations operate in remote areas with little access to power, and diesel for the generators can be difficult to come by and very expensive.
A new report by NORCAP and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies some of the opportunities and challenges for access to solar power for displaced people and the humanitarian sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Replacing diesel generators with solar will reduce CO2-emissions and pollution. But there are other advantages, such as less noise, a more stable energy supply and saving fuel expenses.
As the world’s leading provider of expertise on humanitarian clean energy, NORCAP is looking to partner with actors to make the shift happen.
Installed by local technician
Like everything else, the solar project in Mankien was also affected by Covid-19. Fortunately, local technician Issa Kassimu stepped up to the task.
“The technician who installed our system is South Sudanese. As the market develops, technicians adapt. We hope to contribute by including solar technician courses in our EU-funded vocational training programme”, says country director Alexander Davey.
He explains that the solar system spare parts have to be brought in just like diesel generator spare parts. NRC South Sudan is now planning to expand the project to the next country office.
"It's a long process, and it's not easy. We need to build infrastructure to get the right equipment and train technicians to maintain it. But it's working", says NORCAP solar expert Mark Hankins.