ECOWAS THC5 meet in Dakar over Implementation of ROGEAP Project


Specialists in electrotechnical product standards are meeting from November 15 to 17, 2022 in Dakar, Senegal to discuss two important topics that fall within the framework of the implementation of the Regional Project of Access to Off-Grid Electricity (ROGEAP). These are the harmonization of “Standards on pico solar and solar home systems (SSD) up to 350wp and test methods” and “minimum requirements for installation, inspection and inverters for photovoltaic mini-grids”.

The Dakar meeting has several objectives. This includes for experts to discuss in detail the 2 IEC standards ( IEC TS 62257-9-8:2020 and IEC TS 62257-9-5:2018) proposed for off-grid solar products with PV module power up to 350 watts and test methods, to also discuss the draft national survey report on 3 draft regional standards on minimum requirements for PV mini-grid installations, minimum inspection requirements for PV mini-grid installations and minimum requirements for photovoltaic mini-grid inverters in the ECOWAS region, and finally to align views for a consensus on the content of these five regional standards in order to move to the next step of harmonization.

Several participants took part in this meeting, including expert members of THC5 and the ECOSHAM Secretariat, Consultants from VeraSol (a World Bank-supported Quality Assurance Program for modern off-grid solar solutions), Representatives from the Center for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency of ECOWAS ( ECREEE ), the ROGEAP project and the World Bank.

The opening of the Dakar meeting was marked by a series of interventions. In his welcome speech, Mr. Assane MBENGUE, Secretary of the National Electrotechnical Committee of Senegal (CEN) and speaking on behalf of the Director General of the Senegalese Association for Standardization (ASN) recalled that renewable energy solutions, likely to providing remote populations with reliable access to electricity, is a promising alternative to traditional grid infrastructure. Unfortunately the development of these autonomous solutions is hampered by the strong presence on the market of poor quality solar systems in which consumers have no confidence. Hence the importance of this meeting.

Following him, engineer Alewu CHERRY ACHEMA, Head of Electrical and Electronics Standard Organization of Nigeria and President Technical Harmonization Committee of ECOWAS (THC 5), after thanking ECOWAS and the World Bank for the ROGEAP initiative , returned to the need to upgrade the standards of electrotechnical products in the ECOWAS countries for the happiness of the populations.

Representing the World Bank at this technical meeting, Mr. Yuri LIMA HANDEM, Senior Energy Specialist, specified that providing populations with quality products in the field of off-grid energy and electricity is a priority for his institution.

Speaking on behalf of the Executive Director of the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), Gueï Guillaume KOUHIE, Renewable Energy Technologies Program Officer, after having made the history of the implementation of the project ROGEAP, specified that “ this meeting of the THC5 represents the first meeting of harmonization of the standards for the products PV pico-Solar and the kits SHS and the 2nd on the Standards of the photovoltaic mini-grids. This technical meeting which will allow us to discuss in detail and find a consensus on the content of these regional standards in order to take the next step of harmonization ”.

The work of this meeting was officially launched by Dr. Kemji AJOKU , representing the Director of Industry of the ECOWAS Commission. In his speech, he clarified that the international quality standard and test method for off-grid solar products exist. It is up to the States to work on their adoption in the regional context. He ended his remarks by calling on participants to produce quality documents with a view to their validation at the meeting of Ministers scheduled for December 2022 in Cabo Verde and their adoption in 2023 by the Council of Ministers and the Summit of Heads of ECOWAS States.

As a reminder, the harmonization and adoption of regional standards and quality assurance framework for stand-alone off-grid photovoltaic systems (up to 350 Wp) for the 19 countries implementing the ROGEAP project (the 15 Member States of ECOWAS + Mauritania, Central African Republic, Cameroon and Chad) are one of the missions of this initiative in its component 1A.

The Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP) aims to improve access to electricity for households, businesses and public institutions using modern, stand-alone solar technology through a regional approach harmonized. It includes two components: (1) the development of a regional market implemented by ECOWAS and (2) access to financing for stand-alone solar system companies, implemented by BOAD. The project is funded by the World Bank, with co-funding from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Dutch Government’s Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS).

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