Solar lightbulbs, mini power grids, and batteries could soon supply energy to disadvantaged, rural regions that old-fashioned transmission lines and centralized coal-fired generators will never reach. But while prices of renewables have tumbled, and some say the technology offers lower-income countries the chance to leapfrog over more cumbersome ways of delivering energy, significant challenges remain — particularly around how to finance energy access for the poor.
Most of the world’s energy-poor populations live far from electricity networks. That includes about 57 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa, or 588 million, who remain without access to electricity according to the International Energy Agency; and just over 1 billion worldwide, the United Nations estimates. The U.N.’s seventh Sustainable Development Goal aims to close that gap by 2030, ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.
Lighting Africa–part of World Bank’s efforts to developing a commercial off-grid lighting market in the continent–held its second Lighting Africa/Ethiopia off-grid gathering at Intercontinental Hotel, in the capital, on Thursday. The two-day gathering saw a slew of international businesses take part, showing an interest in the solar energy market within Ethiopia. Taking part this year were solar manufacturers, investors, financial institutions and high-level delegations from the local industry and a number of countries across the globe. Mobisol, All Slar, Oh Slar, Green Light Planet and Sunking were some of the companies represented. Discussions were held on the custom procedures of the nation, on quality standards and access to finance. Among the companies that were at the gathering, the Berlin-based Mobisol is known to have ventured into the continent offering affordable off-grid solutions to an estimated population of half-a-million in the region alone via a mobile payment plan.
(Lighting Africa, 27 Feb 2018)
On March 6th, the government of Niger will announce the official launch of a US $7 million line of credit aiming to stimulate the development of a solar home system (SHS) market for products meeting Lighting Global Quality Standards as well as for quality solar pumping systems.
Ethiopian government delegation visits UK to exchange best practice with British experts in renewable energy and increase energy sector investment.
His Excellency Seleshi Bekele, Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity and Engineer Azeb Asnake, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power made their first joint work visit to the UK from 31 January to 2 February.
The UK government’s Department for International Trade organized the visit which highlighted UK expertise in renewable energy, and allowed the minister to meet important companies and stakeholders in this sector.
During the visit, Minister Seleshi signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with British firm, Winch Energy, to develop a project to supply off-grid solar energy to 700 villages in rural Ethiopia.