CSU helping to establish electricity in East Africa

Can you imagine life without access to electricity? Worldwide, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity. In East Africa alone electricity does not reach 620 million people – fully two-thirds of the population. Many of these people can be served using off-grid electricity solutions, which are rapidly becoming more cost competitive than grid extension. However, by reviewing past off-grid efforts, CSU has learned that electrification often fails for a combination of technical and non-technical reasons. 

That’s why CSU has assembled a team including engineering, agriculture, business, social science and economics to tackle more than just electrification, but electrification coupled with holistic development of these remote rural communities. CSU is engaging heavily in Rwanda to make these solutions a reality, including shared laboratory facilities and a cross-disciplinary R&D program.  

The Smart Village Minigrid project team, led by Principal Investigator Daniel Zimmerle, is one of the teams working to bring electricity to Africa.  You might recall this story from earlier in the year, as we have previously highlighted this project on our website.  Recently Dr. Zimmerle's team shared photos with us that we wanted to share with you!  

In the photo above we see a woman holding a collection of beans.  Beans are a very common in agricultural product in the Rwanda villages.

Project coordinator Peter Means and Dr. Dale Manning in Kigali, Rwanda. 



















Due to Rwanda's no-grazing policy, livestock are housed in corrals near the home.













Community infrastructure requires agreement among village members.  Here, the CSU research team is presenting the micro grid proposal to members of a pilot project village.









Villagers sometimes must walk long distances to refill jerrycans with water.








 A typical home in one of Rwanda's rural villages.












View from the top of a hillside in a rural Rwandan village.








Photo credits: CSU Smart Village Minigrid team