Surge in on-site solar in Sub-Saharan Africa: BloombergNEF

Solar power in Africa

A combination of high electricity tariffs, falling PV prices and a lack of reliability in the grid is boosting sales of on-site solar to business customers in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to research company BloombergNEF.

The commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is growing because of economics. On-site solar power is cheaper than the electricity tariffs paid by commercial or industrial clients in 7 out of 15 markets in Sub-Saharan Africa studied by BNEF.
“An immense energy deficit and crumbling infrastructure makes Sub-Saharan Africa fertile ground for solar,” Takehiro Kawahara, lead frontier power analyst at BNEF, said.

Developers built 74MW serving business customers directly — as of November 2018 — offering them cheaper power than the grid. Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana installed 15MW, 20MW, and 7MW respectively as of November 2018.

The financial sector in Africa has yet to provide funding for C&I solar systems. Most business customers have bought systems for cash, without using third-party finance.
responsAbility-managed funds have financed the off-grid solar sector in Sub-Saharan Africa for five years, focusing primarily on residential customers, Antoine Predour, head of energy debt at responsAbility, said.