The Access to Energy Institute (A2EI), Odyssey Energy Solutions and Green People’s Energy (GBE) have partnered to monitor the state of electricity access at health centres in Benin.
According to surveys carried out by the GBE project in Benin between 2020-2021, over 69% of solar systems installed at health centres in Benin in the past five years prior were no longer working. With much focus put on installing solar systems at health centres, very little attention is placed on what happens after commissioning. In most cases, due to lack of maintenance and proper care, solar systems fail, and the social infrastructure lacks the financial, institutional, or technical capacity to repair systems or to replace faulty parts. When maintenance contracts are signed with private operators, government agencies have a hard time knowing if the maintenance is really carried out and if the solar systems are actually working in remote villages.
In collaboration with the Beninese Agency for Health Infrastructure, Equipment and Maintenance (AISEM), A2EI and the GIZ project GBE Benin have commenced to gather the necessary data to monitor systems and thus ensure their longevity. They have so far installed 20 smart data loggers at 10 on-grid and 10 off-grid health infrastructures. The real-time smart meter data is gathered by the data platform Prospect (a collaboration between A2EI and GET.invest) and ingested and visualized by Odyssey, delivering data-driven insights to various government stakeholders, private operators and funders. As an extension of this work to date, discussions are ongoing for a second wave of data loggers at remote grid-connected and off-grid health centres, financed by GBE Benin.
Visualisations on the A2EI/GET.invest and Odyssey platforms allow for the automated, real-time tracking of each health infrastructure, as well as the analysis of the entire portfolio of solar systems installed at the health infrastructures.
Switching to more sustainable electrification models– like service-based electrification approaches through a private operator– requires a precise evaluation of ongoing performance. The most reliable and cost-effective solution is to collect and analyse real-time information through smart on-site data loggers. Data collected allows for an assessment of the quality of the electricity connection and the service provided by the private operator. At the same time, it improves estimating demand for the sizing of future electrification projects by providing fact-based sizing of systems. As a result, solar installations are better suited to cover the required demand of a health centre, while at the same time reducing the risk of oversizing the solar system, ultimately making more efficient use of public funds.
About GBE Benin
GBE Benin is a project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and aims to facilitate, expand and secure the supply of sustainable energy in rural Africa. It relies on the broad participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, municipalities, cooperatives, public associations and citizens.
About The Access to Energy Institute (A2EI)
The A2EI is the first not-for-profit and collaborative research and development institute aiming to advance renewable energy access in emerging economies. A2EI provides broad, reliable open-source data and on-the-ground research, develops solar system and appliance prototypes, and initiates pilot projects in target regions. A2EI’s contribution to this collaboration is partly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through the GET.invest programme.
About Odyssey Energy Solutions
Odyssey is an end-to-end technology and data platform for the distributed renewable energy sector to finance, build, and operate portfolios at scale. Through Odyssey’s remote monitoring and control tools, performance monitoring and financial data is collected and displayed on the platform’s interactive dashboards, giving stakeholders the visibility they need to fully understand their project portfolios.