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Special Issue "Solar Energy in Africa"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2020) | Viewed by 2708

Special Issue Editors

Sicily's Solar Pole and Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati, CNR, via U. La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, PA, Italy
Interests: nanochemistry; solar energy; catalysis; chemistry education; science communication
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Almost 50 years after the achievements of Father Bernard Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva in fighting drought and poverty in the Sahel with the first direct solar pumps, the use of solar energy in Africa is finally experiencing massive uptake on a truly continental scale.

From tens of thousands of solar-powered LED lights installed in the roads of Senegal or Algeria, through huge photovoltaic arrays deployed in Egypt’s or in Morocco’s desert regions, today’s low cost and highly efficient photovoltaic and photothermal technologies used to produce (generate) electricity and heat are not only ready to eradicate energy poverty in many of Africa’s countries, but can also enable the long awaited transition to distributed generation in both urban and rural areas.

The concomitant availability of new low-cost energy storage technologies—the Li-ion battery today and solar hydrogen in the near future—solves the solar energy intermittency issue, making solar electricity available at all times for stationary civil and industrial applications, and for power electric vehicles.

Which obstacles remain to be overcome for general adoption of decentralized electrification based on photovoltaic modules in Africa? How can the mini-grids be built that are needed to provide electricity 24 hours a day to entire villages? Is it realistic to assume that Africa’s countries will soon start manufacturing solar cells, lithium batteries, and hydrogen fuel cells?

How can young Africans be transferred the technical know-how needed to maintain and optimally use solar energy technologies? How can solar modules and batteries be secured to prevent the theft that plagues solar installations? Which are the most suitable financial models to support the purchase of new energy technologies in countries where the daily income is limited to a few dollars?

This Special Issue, “Solar Energy in Africa”, aims to provide an answer to these and related questions to eventually provide an authoritative and updated outlook on the recent progress of the use of solar energy in diverse African countries and regions, including the numerous African islands.

We encourage colleagues from the broad academic energy community to publish original papers and review studies in this themed Issue whose publication in open access format will ensure free and global access to knowledge of direct relevance to the common future of humankind.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Meneguzzo
Prof. Dr. Mario Pagliaro
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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8 pages, 701 KiB  
Concept Paper
Father Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva: Lessons Learned from Fighting Drought and Poverty with Photovoltaic Solar Energy in Africa
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3136; - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2046
Almost fifty years after the first installations, I identify the main lessons learned from fighting drought and poverty in Africa with direct solar-powered pumps, thanks to Father Bernard Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva. Six main findings and three main recommendations emerge from the [...] Read more.
Almost fifty years after the first installations, I identify the main lessons learned from fighting drought and poverty in Africa with direct solar-powered pumps, thanks to Father Bernard Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva. Six main findings and three main recommendations emerge from the present analysis. They are of direct relevance to all the countries in Africa whose population has gone from 438 million in 1977 to 1308 million in 2019, with about 600 million still having no access to electricity. In place of “awareness campaigns” and extraordinary courses held by international organizations, I recommend the establishment of national solar energy institutes whose task will include the education of solar energy professionals and giving practice-oriented workshops on solar-powered drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting throughout each of Africa’s countries. This education will critically include the economic and social aspects of distributed “generation” of energy and water from sunlight and rainfall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy in Africa)
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