Getting ready for the solar mini-grid roll-out: GBE Ethiopia conducts trainings for planners and implementers

In March 2022, Green People’s Energy Ethiopia has conducted a series of trainings for planners and technical implementers of solar mini-grids. With more than 200 prospective mini-grid sites in the pipeline, Ethiopia is gearing up for a massive roll-out of off-grid electrification – and for this, the capacities of public- and private sector actors are to be strengthened.

Tailored training for planners enables public sector to long- and shortlist new sites using geospatial data as well as various technical and socio-economic indicators. A second group of trainings focuses on the technical aspects of installation and commission, safety issues and electronic waste management. In these technical trainings, engineers from the Ethiopian private sector participate as well in order to play a stronger role in the future roll-out of mini-grids in the country.

How important these kind of trainings are, underlined Sahele Tesfaye, Senior Advisor at the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Water and Energy: “The government of Ethiopia is planning for a number of mini-grids to reach the rural community, and those who have attended this training will be assigned to support the projects in monitoring, supervision, site assessment and the like. I recommend that such trainings take place as often as possible.” 

Moving from theory into practice

The trainings are designed in such a way that the participants experience the theory in the workshops in a very practical way. This is why a field trip to an existing solar mini-grid site is integral part of both trainings. While seeing and touching a real solar-PV mini-grid with all its components and grid infrastructure, the trainees get a direct impression on the planning- and installation processes that accompany such a complex construction.

This type of training was very well received by the participants. “The training was very pratical, and the way of presentation was super. I look forward to give this training to my fellow colleagues at my work place and also recommend such opportunities are given to those who are working on the topic”, said Agenet Ochala from the Energy Office of Gambella Regional State. Yonas Workie, a solar private sector representative added: “The training, apart from giving us the adequate knowledge on the role as well as requirements of private sector to be part of this business, has enabled us to link with other participants from other sectors.

And even after the end of the training, participants have the opportunity to catch up and practise by logging on to an online training platform where the contents of both courses are stored. This activity has been implemented in close coordination with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU), the Ethiopian Water Technology Institute (EWTI) and the Up-Scaling Energising Development Ethiopia project, which is co-funded by the European Union.