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Precise Consult, the leading consulting firm in Ethiopia, has collaborated with the government institutions in the country to launch a program for the manufacturing and distribution of solar home systems (SHS) and productive use energy (PUE) appliances. The initiative will allow the distribution of solar kits for the productive use of solar energy in the agricultural sector.
The announcement event of the program took place at Hyatt Regency in Addis Ababa. The program aims to support the initiatives of the Ethiopian Ministry of Water & Energy and the Ministry of Irrigation & Lowlands to facilitate solar appliance manufacturing in the country.
Under the solar energy access program, Precise will assemble and manufacture 250,000 SHS and 25,000 PUE appliances locally, the latter with a focus on solar-powered pumps. The program is planned to be rolled out in the Amhara and Oromia regions in the initial stages, before expanding to other regions of the country.
Shell Foundation, the independent charity established by the UK-based Shell Group, will be funding the solar appliance manufacturing and distribution program. The program will collaborate with major stakeholders to address the bottlenecks in the off-grid manufacturing industry in Ethiopia.
Precise Consult is deploying its program focusing on the areas which are not served by the national electricity grid. The firm’s productive use of solar energy devices includes solar pumps for irrigation, which are very useful for the farmers who are facing drought in the country.
Ethiopia is supporting large and medium-scale irrigation by employing renewable energy and enhancing the capacities of the farmers. The solar pumps manufactured under the program are expected to restore 7 million hectares of arable land.
Ethiopia relies highly on imported solar appliances which do not meet its demand due to forex shortages. Precise Consult expects that local assembly and manufacturing of solar appliances can expand the accessibility of solar energy. This can save nearly 20–25% on foreign exchange, potentially saving the country hundreds of millions of dollars
According to a recent study by the US-based energy organization, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the electrification of irrigation in Ethiopia has the potential to create an annual value of $1.2 billion by 2025. However, the East African country requires $1.4 billion in new forex plus $1.8 billion in local currency working capital to meet the target of universal electrification by 2025. For the time being, the country has an electricity access rate of 51%.