Energie Douce is a conceiver and distributor of solar powered systems used to supply power to off-grid sites around the world, with a focus on French-speaking countries in Central and West Africa. Energie Douce provides turnkey projects including solar and electronic products, engineering services, logistics, installation, maintenance and training for local installers or communities.
EnR Congo is a non-profit organisation that promotes sus-tainable development in African countries through the use of renewable energy. They help civil society, governments and private firms in implementing renewable energy pow-ered projects that will have a significant impact on the welfare of the population and can foster further social and economic development.
In many African countries, agricultural products are the main source of income for populations living in rural areas. Yet, these products have first to be processed in order to provide food for the population and generate revenues through commercial activities. Due to the lack of materials and reliable energy, it has not been possible to industrial-ise the processing of agricultural products. In rural areas, women still use traditional ways of pounding grains that are both exhaustive for the body and time consuming.
When using fuel to power the mill, people face many obstacles including the lack of paved road and high delivery costs (the roads turn into mud trails in the rainy season). This makes the supply unstable and uncertain. Powering mills with renewable energy offer a self-powered system whereby economic and social development can be assured. Solar panels will be used to power electric mills in areas with high agricultural potential and increase the productivity of this process.
The project aims to implement solar-powered mills that will ease the processing of cassava and grain. It will also include the installation of a solar-powered pumping system. Finally, solar street lights will be installed in the communities to give life to a local night market allowing the products from the solar-powered mill to be sold after sunset. Training for local users will also be provided so that they can carry out the maintenance work of the installation.
Up to this point, the total investment to acquire all necessary materials is roughly estimated at 12 – 19.000 EUR per site depending on the installed capacity of the solar system as well as the battery bank sizing. This project is designed to be developed in many rural communities, starting in Congo and subsequently in communities in Gabon and Cameroon and could represent about 20 sites in the next years.
If successful, Energie Douce and EnR Congo plan to replicate this project in other regions in the Republic of Congo.