• Setting out to improve energy access

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Pitti-Gare village is home of a Villasol installation enabled by Schneider Electric partner Instrumelec. Photo courtesy of René-Pierrot Ekoé.

Electricity. Many of us understandably take it for granted. As electricity throughout many developed countries is readily available, safe, and reliable.

For populations at the base of the energy pyramid, however, access to electricity is a systemic challenge. Recognizing this limitation and its economic, educational, and technological consequences, Schneider ElectricTM advances its efforts to support energy access projects and training in remote and energy-poor countries globally through its BipBop Program. BipBop is an acronym that stands for Business, Innovation, and People at the Base of the Pyramid.

Making electricity sustainable in Pitti-Gare

Last year, for example, Schneider Electric deployed a project in the village of Pitti-Gare, Cameroon, which is not directly connected to the national electricity network. According to the French Agency of Development (AFD), 95 per cent of the people living in rural areas in Cameroon have no access to electricity.

Today, life in Pitti-Gare has been transformed since Schneider Electric equipped the village with a solar micropower plant, Villasol.

This decentralized rural electrification solution consists of photovoltaic panels, a battery bank, and a battery charging station that enables a communal recharge system.The facility supplies domestic, entrepreneurial, and community needs such as schools, health centers, water supply, and public lighting — all without connection to the national grid.

According to René-Pierrot Ekoé, Access to Energy sales engineer, Schneider Electric Cameroon, “Africa is capable of unequalled technological jumps. Certain Africans will never have known fixed telephone lines, and yet today possess two mobile phones. In the same way, every new town, every new district has to benefit from cutting-edge smart grid technologies. And every rural village has to have access to the renewable off-grid energy, without waiting for the deployment of the traditional grid.”

Many of Cameroon’s officials, including Minister of Water and Energy, Sir Basile Atangana Kouna, and Minister of the Environment, Sir Pierre Hele, attended the unveiling of the facility. Their symbolic presence expressed the political ambition of the country to develop access to the energy.

To know more about this Villasol project and other Schneider Electric sustainability efforts, visit our interactive Creating Shared Value: Strategy and Sustainability Highlights.
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