Pico-solar Electric Systems: The Earthscan Expert Guide to the Technology and Emerging Market (Hardback) book cover

Pico-solar Electric Systems

The Earthscan Expert Guide to the Technology and Emerging Market

By John Keane

© 2014 – Routledge

206 pages | 166 Color Illus.

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pub: 2014-04-24
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About the Book

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the technology behind the pico-solar revolution and offers guidance on how to test and choose quality products. The book also discusses how pioneering companies and initiatives are overcoming challenges to reach scale in the marketplace, from innovative distribution strategies to reach customers in rural India and Tanzania, to product development in Cambodia, product assembly in Mozambique and the introduction of ‘pay as you go’ technology in Kenya.

Pico-solar is a new category of solar electric system which has the potential to transform the lives of over 1.6 billion people who live without access to electricity. Pico-solar systems are smaller and more affordable than traditional solar systems and have the power to provide useful amounts of electricity to charge the increasing number of low power consuming appliances from mobile phones, e-readers and parking metres, to LED lights which have the power to light up millions of homes in the same way the mobile phone has connected and empowered communities across the planet.

The book explains the important role pico-solar has in reducing reliance on fossil fuels while at the same time tackling world poverty and includes useful recommendations for entrepreneurs, charities and governments who want to participate in developing this exciting and rapidly expanding market.

Reviews

'John Keane is one of the world's pre-eminent authorities on pico-solar, both the technologies involved, and the marketing of them. This book is a wonderful encapsulation of his expertise. I have been priviledged to be a colleague of his in the most successful enterprise yet in selling pico-solar in Africa, SolarAid's retail brand SunnyMoney. I know first hand how much social good John Keane's vocational life, and now his book based on it, are doing and will do for the world.' - Jeremy Leggett, Founder and Chairman of SolarCentury and SolarAid

'It’s a very good book which covers an important topic. Pico-solar products have the potential to help rural communities which do not have access to electricity in many ways, such as helping farmers charge their phones to stay connected and students to study at night.' - Alex Nana Yaw Brako, Logistics Operations Manager, West & Central Africa, Barefoot Power Africa Limited

'An inspiring, accessible and useful book which gives a good overview of how small solar solutions are helping light up parts of Africa.' - Fredrick Ouko, Executive Director, Action Network for the Disabled, Kenya

'Young people are leaving rural farming communities for urban lifestyles, resulting in an ageing countryside, globally, with a dearth of people to take up agriculture and feed the growing population. Pico-solar provides one innovative means by which rural lifestyles can be improved, enticing more people to stay in and contribute to the development of rural areas. This book provides an excellent overview of the sector and an improved understanding on how pico-solar products can improve rural, agricultural communities'. - Courtney Paisley, Director of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD)

'I found the book really useful and interesting. It provides a great introduction and overview to the new and exciting pico-solar sector, covering a wide range of issues, including the technology, the challenges facing last mile distributors and the positive social impact pico-solar lighting in particular can have. It's clear that pico-solar energy solutions promise to help rural Africa gain access to clean, renewable energy and have a big social impact on rural communities. Furthermore, with the relatively non-existent empirical literature and documented successful distribution models of pico-solar products in Africa, this book is timely and provides suitable case studies and guides for those interested in the pico-solar industry in Africa.' - Emmanuel Aziebor, Associate Advisor, Renewable Energy, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Ghana

'Congratulations on the book. I think it will allow for a lot of information flow on the technical aspects of solar and the solar market in general. Many people working in the pico-solar sector will identify with the wins and challenges discussed in the book. The book is also good for non-technical people and as an introduction for people new to the field.' - Anne Kayiwa, Country Manager, Barefoot Power, Uganda

Table of Contents

Preface Chapter 1: An Introduction to Pico-solar 1. Pico-solar - A New Category of Solar Electric Power 2. System Components 3. The Pico-solar Market 4. Power to Transform Lives 5. Overcoming Traditional Solar Barriers 6. Market trends Chapter 2: The Solar Resource 1. Introduction to Solar Power 2. Putting the Sun’s Energy to Work 3. Solar Radiation 4. Solar Incident Angle 5. Insolation Chapter 3: PV Solar Cells and Modules 1. The Solar Cell 2. How Solar Cells Work 3. The Solar Module 4. Module Ratings 5. Module Output 6. Types of PV Modules 7. PV Wiring and Junction Boxes 8. PV Module Disposal 9. Prices and Innovations Chapter 4: Batteries 1. Introduction to Batteries 2. Battery Chemistries 3. Prices and Innovations Chapter 5: Lighting 1. Lighting Principles and Measurements 2. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Chapter 6: Energy Efficient Appliances 1. Powering Small Appliances 2. Calculating Energy Needs 3. Calculating Module Size and Battery Capacity 4. Portable Electronic Appliances 5. Larger Solar Systems Chapter 7: Quality and Standards 1. Standards and Quality marks 2. Product Life and Warranty 3. Product Performance 4. International Classifications 5. Product Testing Chapter 8: Using and Maintaining Products 1. Selling Pico-solar Responsibly 2. Basic Repairs Chapter 9: The Impact of Pico-solar 1. Light for Development 2. Economic Impact 3. Health and Safety 4. Education 5. Environment 6. Communications Chapter 10: Challenges Facing the Market 1. Reaching the Base of the Pyramid 2. Logistics and Supply 3. Distribution 4. Financial Barriers and Solutions 5. Marketing at the Base of the Pyramid 6. Customer and Aftersales Service 7. Import Taxes and Tariffs 8. Product Disposal and Recycling 9. Policy and Market Facilitation – The Role of Government Chapter 11: Case Studies 1. SunnyMoney - Scaling Up in East Africa 2. Fosera – Manufacturing in Mozambique 3. Toyola Energy – Entrepreneurs in West Africa 4. Worldreader – Solar Charging E-readers in Ghana 5. Greenlight Planet: Direct to Village Distribution in India 6. Orb Energy – India 7. Kamworks - Creating Lighting Solutions in Cambodia 8. NWFT - Microfinancing Solar in the Philippines Chapter 12: Resources 1. Further Reading 2. Industry Bodies, Initiatives and Programmes 3. Pico-solar Companies Specialising in Lighting Products 4. References

About the Author

John Keane is Managing Director and a founding member of SunnyMoney, the largest distributor of pico-solar lighting products in Africa. Previously, he was Head of Programmes for SolarAid, the international NGO that set up and owns SunnyMoney. He became acutely aware of the pressing need for affordable, renewable energy in off-grid communities from living in the village of Uhomini in rural Tanzania as a volunteer in 2000. He has since spent more than a decade leading and developing solar projects across east and west Africa and has played an instrumental role in building both SolarAid and SunnyMoney into respected international organisations.

About the Series

Earthscan Expert

Earthscan Expert Series

Series editor: Frank Jackson

Earthscan's Expert Series is a major new book series providing clear, practical information for people who want to work with environmentally friendly low-carbon technologies. From specific handbooks to more general guides, each highly illustrated title is essential reading for professionals keen to expand their skills base and take advantage of the low carbon revolution.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
TEC031010
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Alternative & Renewable