Renewable energy generation was once such an expensive option that industrialized governments used subsidies to indicate their determination to change to clean energy. However, as the global industry grows stronger and the cost of technology decreases substantially, renewable resources are becoming strategic assets for Africa and developing countries as well.
A critical task for policy makers was to address the persistent lack of access to electricity and clean cooking, and the unreliability of electricity supply, which have acted as brakes on the continent’s development. Around 600 million people do not have access to power today, and approximately 900 million people do not have access to clean cooking. Nonetheless, the current policy and investment momentum is insufficient to cover the entire energy needs of Africa’s population. This has led to a renewed focus on solar energy as it has been tagged a blue ocean
Looking ahead, we can expect technological advancements to make solar energy more affordable, making it the most widely used form of energy in most of the world. Solar PV deployment in Africa averages around 15 GW per year, with 320 GW expected by 2040, surpassing hydropower and natural gas as Africa’s largest electricity source by installed capacity. Last year, the global adoption of photovoltaics (PV) surpassed 100GW for the first time, setting a new record. Solar prices have dropped by 80% since the mid-to-late 2000s, which undoubtedly contributed to this.
Solar energy is used for more than just keeping the lights on and the air clean in Africa. It also means they acquire access to a vital resource for international trade. India, one of Africa’s most important economic partners, is looking forward to expanding the connection as Africa boosts its involvement in the International Solar Alliance, which is led by India.
Securing energy is one of the ways to help develop African nations and increase the levels of technology adoption. With significant investments into the future of solar energy, Africa may well become a global energy leader in the future. For now, the goals are to bring electricity to as many Africans as possible, encourage innovation, and drive aggressive economic growth with solar power.
At the 2nd Annual Africa Solar Energy, Christiaan Bronkhorst is set to deliver a holistic perspective on the Future of Solar Energy in Africa. Christiaan is a Director at SC Solar Energy and he’d be joined by other experts and stakeholders in discussions that could shape Africa’s renewable energy sector.