SR article

Economical possibilities with solar power

This article contains information about what devices the villagers of Zambian rural villages would like to connect to a solar mini-grid.

The villagers of the investigated rural villages are open to solar power. They think they will be able to expand and versify their business, because they would be able to use devices they cannot use at the moment. This will bring development, employment and more investors to the villages. [1]

They would like to connect the following devices to a solar power source:

  • Lights
  • TV
  • Video/DVD Player
  • Fan
  • Radio
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Computer
  • Mobile phone
  • Audio installation
  • Haircutting Razor
  • Printer
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Workshop tools (Carpentry, metal works)
  • Kettle
  • Hammer mill
  • Water pump for irrigation
  • Electric fence
  • Egg incubator
  • Welding machine
  • Hair dressing equipment
  • Cookers

The main sources of income are farming, livestock, businesses and government employment; like teaching, health care and judicial services. The most commonly grown crops are maize, peanuts, sweet potatoes, sunflower and cotton. Livestock includes chicken, pigs, goats and cattle. Below you can find a list of devices we think match the different sectors. Further research on site must give a better insight if these applications fit.


Figure 1: Irrigation pump

1. Farming: Hammer mill, water pump

Hammer mills can be used to mill (maize) grain into coarse flour or shredding garden waste for composting. A water pump (for an example see figure 1) can be used for better irrigation.

2. Livestock: Electric fences, egg incubators

Electric fences will reduce the risk of livestock running away, being eaten by wildlife or get stolen. Egg incubators can be used to expand poultry farms.

3. Businesses: Haircutting razor, hair dressing equipment, sewing machines, workshop tools, welding machine, refrigerator

Haircutting razors and hairdressing equipment can be used in barber shops and hair dressers. Sewing machines can be used by tailors. Workshop tools and welding machines can be useful for any kind of craftsmen. Refrigerators could be helpful for any kind of small restaurant, bar or café.

4. Government employment: Computer, mobile phone, printer, lights

Computers, mobile phones and printers can be useful in all government institutions. For example, one of the local schools only has four computers for a total of 850 pupils. The computer classes would be much more efficient if more students have access to computers. The health centres would improve if they have proper lights, for instance giving birth with sufficient light is safer than with poor lighting.


[1] = All information about the villagers in this article, is from research conducted by the project team of Necor and FuturaSun.