Currently, 1.3 billion people are living without electricity – and this has far-reaching consequences. Without access to electricity, even everyday basic needs are out of reach in many regions, not to mention economic development. This is why the cdw Foundation is pursuing the vision that Dr. Ing. E. h. Günther Cramer, Peter Drews and Reiner Wettlaufer had in mind when founding SMA Solar Technology AG: to bring decentralized energy systems based on renewable energies to areas that are not connected to the power grid. Power generation from solar energy can and should be used above all in the less-developed areas of the world to enable a self-sufficient electrical energy supply there, because a reliable power supply not only improves the living conditions of each individual, it also opens up new possibilities for long-term development.
How can buildings and villages in remote regions be supplied with electricity? Technically, this question has long been answered. After many years of development work, stand-alone systems based on photovoltaics have matured and proven their reliability in many projects. They now also have a clear cost advantage over other energy systems. Nevertheless, electrification using stand-alone systems has made slow progress so far – what are missing, among other things, are sustainable business models that guarantee long-term operation and enable the first local economic cycles to take hold in order to stimulate the development of rural areas in developing countries.
The cdw Foundation would like to make a contribution to ensuring that all people have access to a reliable and sustainable power supply. In doing so, we focus on rural areas in developing countries. Decentralized energy systems based on photovoltaics are the optimal solution in this area. We analyze which obstacles stand in the way of propagating these systems and develop systematic approaches to cope with these challenges.