All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events
All news, insights and events

InnoBlog: Next Century Power: Pioneering the Future of Energy in Africa

The Integrated Project of the Year (iPoY) in InnoEnergy Masters+ in Sustainable Energy Systems offers students an exhilarating opportunity to tackle real-world challenges and apply their knowledge. André Corsetti, who completed his InnoEnergy Masters+ studies at UPC: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and IST: Instituto Superior Técnico, delved into the future of energy in Africa through his project.

Bridging Energy Gaps in Harare, Zimbabwe

Collaborating with an energy access consulting company led by Kumbirai Makanza, André and his team investigated energy access gaps in Harare, Zimbabwe. During the previous year, they visited peri-urban communities in Harare, and conducted a feasibility study for a grid-connected mini-grid project. The team identified suitable locations, assessing their energy demand, and designed a solar PV and storage system to meet this demand. A key innovation of their system is its ability to export surplus solar PV-generated electricity and purchase electricity from the grid at night, reducing storage needs and costs. This approach results in affordable electricity to communities who have been waiting for electricity to arrive for decades.

Next Century Problems need Next Century Solutions

Next Century Power (NCP) is an energy company dedicated to anticipating and meeting the evolving needs of Africa’s dynamic population. With a vision set firmly on the future, NCP believes that tomorrow’s grid will consist of smaller, dispersed, hyper-efficient energy generation and distribution nodes, with Africa at the forefront of this revolution. NCP’s commitment to sustainability is exemplified through their latest initiative, the Hunyani Mini-grid Project. Developed by Siyapakanaka Consulting, this project aims to deliver green, affordable power while fostering social and economic development in Zimbabwean communities.

Addressing Energy Challenges in Africa

The challenge of energy access remains a significant barrier to progress in Sub-Saharan Africa, where millions still lack reliable electricity. In Zimbabwe, only 49% of the population has access to electricity, with urban areas, particularly informal settlements, facing acute electrification challenges. NCP addresses these issues through an innovative grid-connected mini-grid system featuring solar PV generation, battery storage, and smart technology. This pilot project in Harare South will serve approximately 12,000 buildings, enhancing quality of life, reducing costs, and boosting economic growth. André has been assisting Kumbirai in advancing the feasibility study towards a commercial project. Along with Remember Samu, a PhD-level CTO, they are refining the technical work, starting licensing processes, and working on de-risking the project before seeking funds. With a promising business model and strong local community and governmental support, NCP calls on visionary investors to join this transformative venture, paving the way for a prosperous and sustainable energy future in Africa.