You could probably add another solar array and battery pack to the list, for a cell-phone tower, as well, so you've got internet and phone service for the cell phones.Bird on a Fire wrote: ↑Mon May 18, 2020 1:53 pmWhen I was in rural Guinea Bissau last year, the only power in the village was from solar panels and batteries (other than the health clinic, which had a petrol/diesel generator).
Most houses had no power at all. The panels were on buildings run by local government and an NGO, but they let people charge their mobile phones there (the only electric device most people have). Nights were powered by the moon and wood fires.
Guinea Bissau has one of the world's lowest HDIs, but in my (admittedly pretty limited) experience of rural Africa it's not atypical for there to be no paved roads or other large-scale long-distance infrastructure. A bunch of panels and an old motorbike battery is a lot easier to set up than any large centralised solution.
We were moving around a lot, and just had a foldable panel around 1.5m^2 and a battery, which was enough to run a fridge for samples, my boss's laptop, a device for centrifuging and analysing blood samples, plus various phones and tablets and gubbins. Most people in the area have much less than that.
Plus, most demand can be timed. Charging phones happens in the day, as does listening/watching football on the radio/tv and office work for government and NGO workers. That's about it.
Bit of a rambly anecdote sorry, but I do think it's an entirely reasonable suggestion for meeting current demand (a few panels per village) and easily scalable for future decades (probably eventually reaching one or more panels per house).
I'm not as familiar with urban power sources (though I think that's still less than 50% of the region's population) but my impression is that there's a lot of dependence on generators as centralised schemes are unreliable. It's probably easier to swap generators for panel+battery than fix the larger-scale grid.
As for power, there's very little point to rolling out copper to every house for phones given where we are now with tech.