Schatz Energy Research Center

QA for solar systems at public facilities

Vaccines are shown inside a small, top-loading refrigerator.

We are working in collaboration with the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and government partners in Nigeria and Niger on a project funded by the World Bank’s Lighting Africa program to develop a new approach for the procurement, installation and long-term maintenance of off-grid solar electricity systems at public facilities, such as health clinics, schools, public offices, and water pumps.

Off-grid solar systems offer the promise of providing clean, renewable electricity for public facilities. However, historically, there has been a high failure rate for these systems in many countries, often caused by lack of maintenance and good operational practices following installation. Recognizing this issue, we are developing a quality assurance (QA) framework to support installations in which off-grid solar system suppliers enter into leases or extended service contracts with government agencies or other similar organizations to provide solar electricity at off-grid sites. The proposed new approach involves the innovative use of digital remote monitoring technology, along with quality standards for equipment, design, and installation, to ensure and verify the ongoing performance of off-grid solar electricity systems.

Major project elements

  • Between now and 2020, the proposed approach will be developed, evaluated, and revised through research and deployment of approximately 15 pilot systems each in Nigeria and Niger.  
  • Based on information gathered from detailed site visits, we will provide technical designs for the 30 pilot systems and verify system performance for the first six months.
  • Lessons learned from the pilot systems will help refine the quality assurance framework for use in future projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa.


In addition to the World Bank, ECREEE and government partners, the Schatz Center team is joined by key consultants including Chris Carlsen, Olakunle Owoeye, Kevin Gauna, the United Nations Foundation, and the engineering firm, GHD.

Schatz Energy news