In our efforts at 249Startups to generate information , data and opportunities in sudanese markets , We have launched series of forums where we will be hosting experts, Corporate executives and entrepreneurs to detect challenging areas and market gaps, and identify what opportunities lie within it, and to provide market insights and know-how on approaching specified subjects.

This is done with the aim of equipping the participants with explicit knowledge about the identified markets and widen their horizons by communicating the different opportunities which lie within them, and try to direct them towards working in areas that are currently a priority for government , development & private sectors .Additionally, encourage the participants to develop solutions to address the identified challenges and gaps in the industry.

And, with the call for applicants for the 3rd batch of the Orange Corners Sudan  Incubation Program started, we are considering how the upcoming incubation cohort can address these challenges as well as the needs of the country. With that came the idea
of the incubation program having thematic tracks dedicated to the identified challenging areas and gaps.


Fifth Forum : The Future of Energy in Sudan Forum

The Future of Energy in Sudan is one of the targeted topics of the 249Startups series of forums. We’re pleased to have the scientist Dr. Gada Kadoda, Independent scholar, & Founding President of the Sudanese Knowledge Society, Mr. Ahmed Abusin the Co-founder of Artik Energy, and the Co-Founder & Blogger of CleanEnergy4Africa Dr. Mohammed Alhaj, as the session will be moderated by Ethar Yousef, the founder of Akhdar and one of incubatees of Orange Corners Sudan batch 2 .Watch the full webinar and reach the summary of discussion points .

Watch Full Webinar now Online

Energy is one of the eight tracks of the Orange Corners Program. This webinar is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the opportunities available in these paths.

Overview

When we mention Energy what comes to mind is oil and gas. But there are other types of energy such as windmills, water, and solar. The word energy is not limited to electricity, however, there’s a priority on electrical energy because it directly affects everyday life and the quality of it.

In Sudan, electricity generation depends on water and thermal plants power by almost 100%. Thermal power run by oil so any difficulty in importing oil will automatically result in problems in electricity generation and supply and this is what Sudan is suffering from today.

Renewable energy is the energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

Renewable Energy is the future In terms of

  • Consumption :
  1. The residential sector, 54%.
  2. Industrial and commercial, way less than 54%.
  • Price :

The price of electricity in Sudan is very low, actually, it’s the most inexpensive in sub-Saharan Africa

Challenges

  • The renewable energy market is an untapped market.
  • Most of the population in Sudan (two thirds) don’t have access to electricity.
  • There’s a huge gap between supply and demand in electricity production.
  • The government doesn’t have a long term strategy for renewable energy in Sudan.
  • Renewable energy is suffering from financing complications. So we need economists to study the effects of renewable energy on the economy.
  • Renewable energy is a new concept in Sudan.
  • There’s a lack of the technologies needed, and the supply chain of renewable energy is also facing some issues.
  • The government didn’t establish any policies and regulations, or specifications in this matter.
  • There’s also a shortage in the working force that can work in installation and repairing renewable energy devices. And that’s because there’s no technical training.
  • All the technologies used are implemented so the instability of the market and exchange rates affects this business.
  • There’s a lack of information, as well as a clear governmental plan or commitment to promoting renewable energy usage.
  • Also, there’s the challenge of the absence of reliable infrastructure.
  • Cultural mindset is a challenge too.
  • Financing is one of the difficulties that face social entrepreneurship.
  • There is problems in the accessibility of electricity and internet connection in rural or undeveloped regions.

 

Sudan is an agricultural country, so the agriculture sector must have the highest level of energy consumption, while the reality is different. First, we suffer from a challenge that demand is way higher than supply.Also, the agricultural sector used to depend on diesel because it was available and cheap. Today there’s a crisis in the diesel supply, and the state stopped providing farms with electricity. Solar energy will solve their problems and in a sustainable way.

 

The access to power affects other government services such as education, healthcare and other services.The data says 40% of the population has access to electricity, but actually, there’s no social justice in the distribution of it. Most of this 40% is in Khartoum and other big cities.

 

Sustainable energy might not be the optimum solution in some cases, because sustainable energy can be costly. So as an entrepreneur, you have to study all the aspects of the topic and think of the customers’ needs and budget.

The installation and usage of renewable energy technologies differ from urban to rural areas, when you work in urban areas you compete with the electricity system provided by the state which is very cheap.

All of the renewable energy projects in Sudan are not in Khartoum, so it’s important for entrepreneurs who are interested in this field to think outside the borders of Khartoum state.

Opportunities 

  • There’s a good opportunity in having small solar energy kits for homes and hospitals in rural areas.
  • Look beyond the energy to social and economical issues.
  • There are many possibilities for creating solutions especially for people in rural areas.
  • One of the possibilities is how to connect university students with the living reality.
  • the local knowledge in our communities like food processing and conservation as well as agriculture can be developed and optimised.
  • The field is very big, anyone from any technical, since, financial, and any creative background can work on it and find a new possibility.
  • There’s an innovation room in the packaging of information and delivering it to rural areas.
  • All the people who work in this sector can have some sort of a coalition or union so they complete each other’s work and diversify the work, also to work on setting policies.
  • This market has its own unique niche that is very trendy.
  • One of the most successful business models called pay as you go which is now applicable in many African countries such as Nigeria and Tanzania is leases, where the customers go to the bank who will provide him with the desired energy device and he will pay a certain amount of money monthly to pay off the bank.
  • ICT can help in creating an auditing system, and smart debate. There are solutions like helping farmers with information (e-agriculture).

Sudanese knowledge community project

The project idea is to reach the least-mobile individuals in the least developed regions in rural areas and transfer the knowledge and technology to them, so it’s not just providing them with services but also a sustainable development plan. And when working on such areas the approach and business model you use is very important.

The project recruits women in the middle age by giving them courses and training in India in how to provide their villages with electricity, then they come back to their homeland and establish a workshop, they become engineers who are able to install and repair solar energy devices. They also teach them how to manufacture chalks, candles, and paper bags from the local materials available.

There will be a local training centre, in the Nuba Mountains, Neiri village, which is the first village to get power through the project. | Dr.Ghada

 

Resources available in Sudan

There are many energy resources in Sudan other than solar energy, There is biogas which is a mixture of gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. We also have wind pressure, thermal limbal energy.

There’s also a good amount of technologies that have been used by the private sector and world organisations which are small solar energy systems, and windmills, as well as biofuels.

Solar energy has two parts :

  1. Photovoltaic solar energy which is the solar panels.
  2. Thermal which captures the suns’ heat.
Akhdar as an example, works with thermal solar energy technology, they choose to work on the agricultural sector specifically, the post-harvesting term to reduce the loss in this stage which can reach to 40% of production.

Sudasolar study

Dr Mohamed wanted to start a renewable energy company back in 2016, the first thing he did was a feasibility study and market research the results came as follows.

  1. Western Darfur is one of the unexplored markets that have huge potential,
  2. A big number of business owners have a good consciousness in the matter of quality of investment.
  3. The study also did a survey, for a number of companies that work on selling devices in Khartoum state, found that 80%-90% of the solar energy systems are sold to commercial businesses.
  4. Also one of the study’s surprises is, there are certain sectors that are very interested in solar energy systems such as, mining, hotels, restaurants, and farms.
  5. Also one of the struggles that face the suppliers in this business is they need someone to do a cost-benefit analysis, so they can convince the customers.
  6. The survey also found, the marketing techniques in this business are very low.
  7. Although at that time there was instability in the Sudanese pound in exchange to the US dollar, the study found that, return on investment in all executed solar energy systems in Sudan is 1-3 years only.

Recommendations 

You can establish a consultancy firm to provide a technical cost-benefit analysis, and also focus on business to business model B-B.

Tips

  • Invest in yourself before the startup
  • Do market study
  • Identify your customers and their needs
  • Build your network
  • Prepare to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
  • Don’t focus too much on one technology.
  • Think about the entire service value chain.

About the panellists

Dr Mohammed is a specialist in renewable energy, solar energy and renewable energy modelling. As well as life cycle assessment and water desalination. He’s also a co-founder of Clean Energy For Africa, which is a platform that aims to create a space for discussion and ideas exchanging as well as empowering researchers and students on the level of Sudan and Africa.

Dr Gada graduated from the school of the mathematics university of Khartoum, she holds a master degree in information system and technology, and a PhD in software engineering. Dr Gada entered the renewable energy field through an academic/professional, development, and women empowerment perspective.

Ahmed Abusin, co-founder of Artech energy which is a startup that works in solar energy, it works towards promoting the use of solar energy in Sudan. He graduated from mechanical engineering, he became interested in solar energy when he first read about solar energy used in Spain, then he became interested in thermal solar, then he did his masters in renewable energy


This Article had been developed by 249Startups  Team for purpose of learning and sharing knowledge as part of Markets Opportunities Mapping Forum  .

 

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