NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF 6: Promotion of solar PV cooling in Burkina Faso

Photo: NDF
Access to electricity is a prerequisite for economic development. This project aims at promoting solar cooling in West Africa as a tool to reduce power shedding
Burkina Faso
Promotion of solar PV cooling in Burkina Faso
Ref: NDF C83


Nordic Partner: Danish Technological Institute
Local Partner: ISOMET sarl
Other Partners: UniCool A/S
Total Project Cost: EUR 514,703
NCF Financing: EUR 402,352

Agreement Signed:
Project type: Combination
Duration: 24 months


Project objective
The objectives of this project is to develop and demonstrate a technical and financial concept to improve the power sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, by using solar photovoltaic cooling and cold water storage as a mean for peak power shaving. The concept will also address the possibility of local private financing of the energy sector and so alleviate the pressure on public finances.

By demonstration of the results from this project, it should convince the households and office-building owners to consider and invest in solar PV as an energy source, and in addition, the project should create a platform for creation of new businesses through a commercial partnership between Isomet in Burkina Faso and Unicool in Denmark and East Africa. In this way, the valuable practical experience with high quality appropriate cooling technology in East Africa will be used in Burkina Faso.

Main results/outputs
As for material results, the project will develop and implement two kind of energy systems based on solar cooling and targeting two types of users:

1. System for office buildings
The proposed energy service for these consumers will provide most of the energy needed in office buildings. It should cover the demand during the day and up to 2 h after sunset. The customers from this segment typically need energy in the ratio of 80% for cooling and 20% for light, computer, printers, etc.

The project period will only be used to test the system. When the system becomes mature and operational after the project period, this energy service will be offered through a leasing agreement (ESCO). In this case, the energy production equipment remains the property of the service provider. The systems will be installed by the
ESCO provider, which will take care of the maintenance, and be paid monthly the equivalent of the average energy bill paid to the grid promoter.

2. System for households
This system will be sold as an energy kit consisting of a smart air conditioning system equivalent to 1 HP split cooling unit, with autonomy of 6 hours, and a PV system for usual loads such as fridge, ceiling fans, lamps, and TV. This system can also be implemented in non-grid areas where power would otherwise be supplied by small and polluting generator sets. An important targeted output is the collaboration with the government to install complete solar PV energy systems on governmental office buildings.

In Burkina Faso like in almost all of the West African countries, the power sector is characterized by an offer lower than the demand especially in the hot season. Shedding is a logical result, depriving people and enterprises of electricity when they need it the most (when A/C units are switched on during a heat wave).

Lack of power is specifically a problem for those many women creating their income in the cities by selling juice, grilled fish, ice, cold beverages, and all kind of food products that need cooling and thus electricity. Therefore, no electricity often means lack of income and empowerment. The strongly growing energy demand, linked with the lack of financial means, poses a general threat to a peaceful growth in many sub-Saharan cities. This project focuses on the urgent need for filling the gap between the offered and the desired power supply.

Using solar energy to produce air conditioning during peak load hours could improve the situation significantly; this is exactly what this project suggests. Climate change and the desire of indoor comfort means a growing need for air-conditioning. The project will design, laboratory test, monitor, improve and demonstrate the technical feasibility of solar cooling with thermal storage, thereby minimizing the use of expensive and environmentally problematic batteries commonly used in solar powered systems. Furthermore, a careful financial viability assessment as well as a complete business plan will be developed with the aim of creating a solar cooling business in Burkina Faso.

The project was cancelled before completion.

Relevance for climate change
The NAPA in Burkina Faso has based the action selection on following criteria's:
• Alleviation of climate change effect severity.
• Poverty reduction.
• Synergy with other multilateral environmental agreements.
• The cost /effectiveness.
One of the main effects of climate change in Burkina Faso will be the temperature rise. In addition to the fact that
it will lead to the reduction of rainfall:
Cooling demand will rise, power offer will not meet it. Economic activities and living comfort will be affected.
Population will demonstrate. More energy will be imported; the trade balance will be affected; less money will be
invested in development projects; Overall poverty will rise. (A vicious circle)
The smart energy systems with private financing will help meet the energy demand, reduce the import of fossil
fuels, secure and create jobs, reduce poverty and that in synergy with the multilateral environmental agreements,
by reducing CO2 emission promoting renewable energy, while improving livings conditions.
All this will be done on a viable business basis with low financial involvement of the government, which
demonstrates the cost effectiveness of the project.


Innovation aspects
Technically, the project will offer a smart solution to the power-shedding problem in hot countries, by combining high efficient direct current and variable speed compressors, water storage and solar module to solar air conditioning systems. Storage is the bottleneck of solar energy and traditionally batteries have been used. In our project, expensive and short-lived batteries will be replaced by water storage, already successfully in use in the thermal sector worldwide. The system is autonomous and does not rely on expensive over landline. Furthermore it does not use extra land since implemented on the office roofs, land cost are saved.
Economically the innovation will be to relief some of the burden for public investments in the energy sector by promoting private investments in energy saving equipment and introduction of an ESCO model for the relation between clients and service provider.