Ethiopian Energy^Power Business Portal,eepBp

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Ongoing innovation in technology and distribution models continues to be a hallmark of the off-grid solar sector. Having already led to hundreds of millions of people benefitting from off-grid solar products ranging from lanterns to solar home systems (SHS), products are now developing along the sector’s newest frontier – productive uses leveraging solar energy (PULSE). These can provide livelihoods for off-grid households and micro-enterprises across the agricultural, industrial, commercial, and public sectors.

A market for these new applications is emerging, and is explored in our new report, “The Market Opportunity for Productive Use Leveraging Solar Energy (PULSE) in Sub-Saharan Africa.” This report provides an overview of the market for PULSE micro-applications, which can be powered by standalone solar systems of one kilowatt or less. We narrowed the scope to products that largely overlap in size with the off-grid household solar sector in order to explore the opportunity to catalyse growth in the PULSE market and produce similar results to those achieved by Lighting Global’s country programs. The micro-PULSE segment represents a natural extension for off-grid manufacturers and suppliers that have achieved great success in expanding energy access in rural areas. Geographically, the focus of the report is on sub-Saharan Africa with a deeper dive on Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Cote d’Ivoire. It seeks to inform the strategy of industry, government, and development actors and to catalyze the market for PULSE solutions across Africa.

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The World Bank Group and the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), based at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, have published a joint report that examines a wide range of financing solutions for delivering Off Grid Solar (OGS) electricity to more than 840 million people still living without access to reliable power.

The report, Funding the Sun – New Paradigms for Financing Off-Grid Solar Companies, explores an array of innovative as well as traditional financing solutions for providing electricity access to hundreds of millions of people, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa. It also offers guidance for companies seeking to deploy their OGS solutions by outlining which financing option best suits their specific approach, the preconditions for each financing option, and the associated opportunities and challenges.

The recent Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2020 by the World Bank Group and GOGLA (the OGS industry association) highlighted that, in order to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, the OGS sector would need between $6.6 billion and $11 billion in additional funding.

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EmNEW and NRC Ethiopia sign agreement

Empower New Energy, the renewable impact investment company with offices in Oslo and Nairobi, has partnered with the Norwegian Refugee Council to seek sustainable solutions for replacing fossil fuels with renewable solar energy in Ethiopia. NRC is one of the largest international humanitarian organizations working to protect the rights of displaced and vulnerable people during crises and has provided assistance in Ethiopia since 2011.

The project, “Scaling Solar for Humanitarian Operations in Ethiopia” intends - following a 6 months feasibility study - to finance, construct and operate solar power plants for 2-3 refugee settlements in Ethiopia. In addition to NRC, EmNEW and Ethiopian developer Ethio Resources Group (ERG), the project is co-financed with a grant from Innovation Norway.

The study will also seek to evaluate the potential demand for electricity around the refugee settlements, with the aim of extending the solar distribution network from the refugee camps to neighbouring communities. The lessons learnt will also be documented and used for scaling-up the project as well and disseminated to other parties for knowledge sharing and replication.

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Off-Grid Solar Industry Grows into a $1.75 billion Annual Market, New Report Shows

The off-grid solar industry has grown into a $1.75 billion annual market, providing lighting and other energy services to 420 million users and remains on a solid growth curve, a new World Bank Group and GOGLA report shows. 

The 2020 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report finds that the industry has made tremendous strides in the past decade. Since 2017, revenues from the off-grid solar industry continue to rapidly grow, increasing by 30 percent annually. To date, more than 180 million off-grid solar units have been sold worldwide and the sector saw $1.5 billion in investments since 2012.

With 840 million people still lacking access to electricity, the growth of the off-grid solar industry is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7) for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

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