It is Africa’s solar power moment. African governments and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) recognize the incredible opportunity to overcome African electricity poverty by utilizing one of the continent’s most abundant natural resources — the sun. Solar power capacity comprises over 90 percent of an estimated 10 terawatts of sub-Saharan Africa’s total potential power capacity.¹ The levels of Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI), the amount of radiation received by a horizontal surface, across Africa are among the highest in the world making solar photovoltaic (PV) systems an attractive power option for African governments.²
Solar Prices Are Reaching Record Lows. Sub-Saharan African governments and foreign direct investors are developing policy frameworks, goals, and financing mechanisms, to diversify their generation mix. While gas and hydropower will continue to dominate sub-Saharan Africa’s power generation mix, particularly for baseload power utilization, solar capacity is expected to increase as a major power resource as technology prices continue to fall and solar tariffs become increasingly cost competitive with other thermal and renewable resources. Also, rapid advances in battery technology and storage business models are likely in coming years to make solar plus storage a viable baseload option at scale. By 2030, solar is projected to become one of the least expensive new energy sources in sub-Saharan Africa as investment climates improve, procurement processes become increasingly transparent and competitive, and demand continues to rise.
"Free solar panels" is a marketing phrase you're likely to see bandied about if you're in the market for a residential solar energy system. "Buyer beware" is common wisdom, and that phrase should pop into your mind immediately if you come across a sales or marketing pitch touting free solar panels (or free anything really). Invariably, what you'll find if you dig deeper into any offer of free solar panels is that they really aren't free. You'll pay for them in one way or another, even though it may not cost you anything to have the solar panels, as well as the inverters, wiring, etc. that goes into a functional solar home energy system, installed and brought up and running initially, there will be payments.
Market-leading third-party owned (TPO) solar lease companies have grown into multi-billion dollar businesses by taking exactly that approach. Offering to install a home solar energy system for zero money down, pioneering residential solar finance providers, such as SolarCity (or Tesla-SolarCity), Sunrun and Vivint, own, operate and maintain customers' rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
(Xinhua, 15 May 2018)
Attendees at a forum discussing Africa's electrification challenges held in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa on Monday urged closer China-Africa energy partnership to help meet the continent's energy needs.The forum on "Grid Connection Gearing Up Sustainable Africa" was organized by Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), a Chinese non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development of energy worldwide. Kuang Weilin, Chinese ambassador to the AU, told attendees at the forum China is ready to work with the AU and its 55 member states to meet the needs of estimated 600 million Africans who lack electricity to undertake their daily activities.on, improve African people's living standards and unleash great potential for intra-Africa trade," he said. Kuang, said China has keenly followed the AU's efforts to electrify the continent through the AU's Agenda 2063 declarations and is ready to help Africa in its electrification drive through various Chinese-led initiatives.
Last week, the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the United Nations Statistics Division, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization released the joint report Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report 2018. The report finds that the world is not on track to meet the targets set by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7—“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” which includes ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services and increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. The report indicates that while SDG 7 targets may not be met by 2030, significant progress is being made. Moreover, trends at the national and regional levels—especially in Africa—offer encouraging signals. The report finds that, for the first time in history, Africa’s electrification deficit is falling in absolute terms, i.e., there are fewer people without electricity. This result is largely due to the high performance of East African countries. For instance, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania expanded access to electricity by at least 3 percent of their population annually between 2010 and 2016.