Supporting Access to Energy and Capacity Building in Western Africa
At EnerSys®, our vision is to "Power the Future - Everywhere for Everyone". This means we are committed to advancing sustainable energy solutions across the globe. Providing energy solutions around the world includes supporting communities and local workforces with the skills they need to improve both their working conditions and overall quality of life.
A significant obstacle to the expansion of reliable and affordable alternative energy solutions, specifically solar energy, is the lack of knowledge and technical capacity among installers. This is an especially prevalent issue in rural and developing regions. A confounding issue in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is the current gender gap and lack of representation for women in technical and vocational education – a focus area for EnerSys.
To facilitate access to energy in western Africa, OutBack PowerTM - an EnerSys company – partnered with not-for-profit Remote Energy to provide Solar PV and Energy Storage Training for instructors and technicians in Senegal. The program was funded by the Standards Alliance, which is a public-private partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and American National Standards Institute that focuses on providing capacity building assistance to partner countries. With an understanding of the benefits of promoting gender equality, the project includes the specific goal of empowering women to learn the skills to succeed in the solar energy workforce and featuring Remote Energy female solar instructors as role models. The training modules held virtually and at the Dakar American University of Science and Technology (DAUST) – teach current and aspiring technicians the West African Photovoltaic (PV) installation standards.
The training included two, six-week online courses. The first was a class for DAUST instructors, and the second course was for a general Senegal student audience with a target of achieving gender balance – with about half of the students female and half male. This was followed by hands-on virtual and in-person training where DAUST instructors and students have the opportunity to work on live systems and gain hands-on experience in programming, inspecting, and troubleshooting PV systems in the field.
“We were pleased to partner with EnerSys, and the other key organizations for this very important project. Building local technical capacity is as vital as the equipment when the aim is to create long-term impact with clean and affordable energy. Training more women to increase gender balance in the solar industry is an important goal of this project as well. We are really happy with the results thus far.” Carol Weis, Remote Energy Co-founder & IREC Master PV Trainer™
Significant research shows that a diversified workforce helps improve local commerce, especially in the developing world. Supporting women’s training and education for high-tech, sustainable jobs not only helps the environment but also helps bolster the global economy. EnerSys is proud to support socially impactful initiatives, especially those that combine efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the energy management sector, reinforcing our ongoing commitment to finding innovative solutions to address global climate change while concurrently improving peoples’ lives and livelihoods.