Scaling-up off-grid solar to unlock energy access for 120 million households in Africa says new report

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 July 2021:

The European Investment Bank and the International Solar Alliance today published a new study outlining solutions to overcome key affordability and investment challenges holding back off-grid solar investment across Africa.

“Increased use of off-grid solar technology across Africa is essential to harness clean and affordable energy and transform the lives of millions of people. The new European Investment Bank and International Solar Alliance study published today combines experience and expertise from successful off-grid deployment to outline how investment can be unlocked to increase access to solar power.

“The ground-breaking analysis demonstrates how closer cooperation between African, European and global partners can unlock investment and technical barriers that hold back sustainable development and the green transition.” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.

“The joint International Solar Alliance – European Investment Bank study outlines a pathway to unlock access to off-grid solar in Africa. This builds on proven success, expert insight and commercial experience to identify and overcome investment gaps and financial barriers holding back off-grid solar. The study details what can be done to increase access to clean energy to off-grid rural areas including refugee camps, urban areas and remote villages across Africa.”  said Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of the International Solar Alliance.

Unblocking off-grid energy investment to enable a better future for millions

At present more than 120 million households across Africa lack access to reliable and affordable energy, with 60 million households expected to remain without electricity by 2030 unless urgent action is taken.

The new in-depth overview of recent private sector led deployment of small-scale solar energy systems across sub-Saharan Africa identifies five key challenges that can be addressed to unlock high-impact local energy investment essential for sustainable development and economic growth on the continent.

The study, based on detailed consultations in Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria and analysis of off-grid markets across the region, provides recommendations for effective intervention to scale up off-grid solar deployment depending on specific local issues.

Sharing best practice that allows investment and technical barriers holding back off-grid solar is key crucial to scale up off-grid solar, allow vulnerable and remote communities to access clean energy and deliver the sustainable development goal of universal access to reliable and affordable energy.

New study provides technical and business solutions to scale up off-grid solar across Africa

Commissioned by the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the International Solar Alliance, and compiled by development advisors Dalberg, the new study gathers local technical and financial experience and insight from successful deployment of off-grid solar investment in Africa.

This includes examining how off-grid solar investment has benefits refugee communities in Uganda and enabled cost-effective energy access in Nigerian cities.

Sharing best practice with development finance partners

Investment challenges including affordability, working capital and exchange rate risks and political and economic stability holding back private sector investment in off-grid solar can be reduced through combining commercial financing and support form development finance partners.

The key recommendations of the study outline different models of intervention to overcome financing, technical and customer challenges to scale up off-grid solar deployment were highlighted ahead of final publication in specialist workshops attended by representatives of AfD, KfW, FMO and the European Commission.

Breaking down barriers to scaling up off-grid solar

The report published today examines off-grid solar investment across Africa and assesses how investment barriers including affordability, equipment supply, access to working capital, regulatory challenges, insurance and technical expertise influence and hinder deployment.

The analysis uses solutions developed in local case studies to suggest how examples such as aggregated purchase of solar home systems can reduce costs and rapidly enable low-income, urban and rural communities and refugees to access reliable energy through sustainable private sector led off-grid solar projects.

The study, based on the analysis by specialised development consulting firm Dalberg, was compiled following in-depth research on government policy, on discussions with energy, business and development finance stakeholders across Africa and stakeholder workshops in Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.

The European Investment Bank is supporting 8 off-grid solar projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year the EIB provided EUR 5 million for private and public investment across Africa and is supporting off-grid solar across Africa including projects in, Chad, Comores, Gambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda.

Link to Commercial and Economic Feasibility Study for Enhancing Off-Grid Solar Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa report:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

The International Solar Alliance is undertaking joint efforts to reduce financing costs and the cost of solar technology applications and services. The ISA seeks to help countries mobilize $1 trillion of investment for a massive deployment of solar energy technologies and expand solar markets. This would help achieve three different but interlinked objectives: promoting a clean energy transition, enabling energy access and energy security, and delivering a new economic driver for all countries.

1 Comment

  1. Gentlemen – The figures stated above speaks volumes for themselves;Presently, 120 million households across Africa have no access to reliable and affordable electricity. What a sad and depressing thing to hear in a continent that is blessed with vast natural and mineral resources. Since our Independence our poor nation has been digging and unearthing Gold, diamonds and Iron ore yet nothing productive has come out of it – millions of people are still living in darkness in their homes with Vigilante Mosquitoes that have no intention of showing mercy.(lol) What happened to the truckloads of revenues generated from the sale of Cocoa, Coffee,Diamonds and Gold? Where the hell did it all go? Nigeria is the same sad story, millions living in darkness also having no hope at all of ever seeing the light and having easy access to reliable affordable energy.

    Where exactly did all the vast shiploads of Oil revenues that was earned during successive lucrative decades of the Oil Boom era – sixties and seventies when oil output exploded from just 5 million to over 600 barrels that should have transformed their country into a Paradise on Earth? Show me the money – where did it all go so quickly? Time and Tide waits for no man;Instead of seizing the moment and making the best of it they squandered it just like Sierra Leone – now we are back to square one again begging for help from others because our little ones are afraid of being in the darkness – The Boogey Man is out there they say.(lol)

    The main objectives of the International Solar Alliance are to provide clean and affordable energy to millions of our poor people,mobilise investments for massive deployment of Solar Energy and also expand solar markets; Folks, this is an admirable effort that deserves our undivided attention,support and sincerest gratitude.

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