ECREEE, in partnership with l’Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement (2iE), Burkina Faso (lead partner), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and SIREA-ENERGIE, France, received a grant of €743,096.38 to support research on ‘Development of a Cost-effective, Modular and Dry Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) for Africa: Design and Test of Components’.

The grant was awarded to ECREEE, and its project partners, on 28 March 2012, at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the framework of the African Union Commission Research Grants Open Call for Proposals. This grant, which covers about 70% of the total budget (€1m), will be financed through an agreement between the European Commission and the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of States under the ACP Research for Sustainable Development Programme of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Intra-ACP envelope.

ECREEE’s project proposal on concentrated solar power (CSP) was one of nine proposals accepted out of 262 submitted from across the African continent. The 3-year project aims to address the main barriers to the development of solar power technologies in West Africa, including financial barriers and the lack of local technical capacities required to operate such projects. It is against these barriers, and the fact that current technologies are not well suited to the sub-Saharan African context, that the research project will work towards a reduction in investment costs by promoting local manufacture of solar energy components and by developing technologies that are suitable for geographic regions with water scarcity.

The project is the first of its kind in the ECOWAS region and is part of an on-going effort by ECREEE to promote academic research in the field of renewable energy in the region. The project was officially launched on 8 May 2012, at the ECREEE Secretariat in Praia, Cape Verde.