Maintenance team composed of members of the village, trained by Mali-Folkecenter in installation & maintenance of solar systems.

Mali, like other countries of the Sahel, is landlocked, and faces many challenges in the field of energy supply. The energy sector is characterised by dependence on imported fossil fuels (nearly 10% of energy requirements), with the inevitable associated impact on the national trade balance, and high dependence on wood & charcoal, which together meet 90% of energy needs. This unsustainable use of biomass results in deforestation and desertification. Electricity supply is very limited: around 20% of the urban population and less than 1% of the rural population have access to electricity.

This can be contrasted with abundant Renewable Energy resources. On average Mali receives 2500 hours of sunshine per year, with insolation of up to 6kWh/m2 per day. The wind also has huge potential with average wind speeds in the north & east of the country of 3 - 7 m/s. These are decentralised resources which can be exploited by Mali’s largely decentralised population. Many areas of Mali will never be on a national electricity grid as population densities are too low to make it profitable, but solar and wind power give the option of generating electricity wherever it is needed.

The Solar/ Wind department works with rural populations to put these natural resources to work. A heavy emphasis is placed on technical training to build local capacity at village level for operation & maintenance of systems installed. Appropriate management structures are identified and developed including income generating mechanisms which fit to the socio-environmental context, as it is essential that systems can generate enough revenue to pay for their maintenance. Only then the benefits be sustainable.