Zambia however has plenty of sources of energy that can contribute to the social and economic emancipation in rural communities. One such source is solar energy. Solar energy or Solar power, refers to the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. Simply said, photovoltaic is a technology that converts natural sunshine into electricity. The country has abundant sunshine which gives the country great potential to develop this renewable resource and provide affordable energy to rural communities. Like other forms of energy, solar power has many benefits including improved literacy through access to lighting and modern information technology, increased economic activities arising from access to electricity, and improved provision of health services resulting from provision of electric powered equipment and machinery. Solar energy also contributes to the reduction in carbon emissions as well as enhancing leisure and entertainment prospects.
One of the tasks of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) is to promote the utilization of appropriate alternative rural electrification technologies in order to enhance economic activities in rural areas. This is against the background that the availability of abundant sunshine as well as alternative viable technologies that can utilize this resource to generate power has opened the opportunity to increase access to energy in rural areas. These are areas where the population is dispersed and the load is relatively small and unsuitable for grid inter-connection. Other factors such as measures taken by the Minister of Finance and National Planning in March 2008 to suspend Duty and Value Added Tax on solar photovoltaic panels, batteries, and related accessories have made the solar systems much more affordable to rural populations.
REA commenced the Solar Energy Programme as part of its rural electrification strategy in 2007. The programme aims at putting solar photovoltaic installations at various public and social institutions. The REA recognizes the fact that access to electricity is not only critical for community services such as health, education and communication services, but also for traditional institutions of authority.
You may download a list of Solar projects that have been undertaken in the following provinces:
- REA Solar projects Central provice
- REA Solar projects Copperbelt province
- REA Solar projects Southern province
- REA Solar projects Northern province
- REA Solar projects North Western province
- REA Solar projects Luapula province
- REA Solar projects Western province
- REA Solar projects Lusaka province
- REA Solar projects Eastern province