Solar Energy Market Booming in Africa
2017 has witnessed a drastic transformation of renewable energy from replacing fossil fuels in meeting national energy needs of various nations with even traditional energy players and mining houses (mining sector is heavily reliant on fossil fuels) transcending hydrocarbons and accelerating a shift towards renewable energy, clean technologies and sustainable path of development.
Africa, whose potential for renewable energy is staggering has witnessed massive influx of investment in the green energy sector and it is estimated that renewable energy can more than quadruple by 2030 to 22% compared to the current level of 5%. Coupled with continued demand, falling costs have also led to the increased inclusion of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Solar energy sector in particular have expanded on a massive scale within costs falling by almost 80% since the end of 2009 and are expected to fall further in the future. Africa, for instance, is expanding their solar market on a rapid rate.
The continent has abundant solar resources, thus more than sufficient supply to meet the demand growth. Thereby, many African nations are turning to solar energy as an economic route to bolster energy security and meet social, developmental and economic goals in a sustainable manner.
Zambia is one of the countries that is leading in the solar renewable sector. The country aims to triple power output to 6,000 MW in 2 years through solar expansion. The Zambian government will launch a tender for photovoltaic (PV) projects up to 20 MW in early 2018. ‘The 100 MW tender will be the first round of the program GET FIT Zambia, which was launched on December 7.’ (www.lusakatimes.com) World Bank has also approved an International Development Association (IDA) which guarantees up to $2.8 million. This is to support Zambia to increase its solar photovoltaic electricity generation capacity and diversify from not only primary sources but also to reduce the heavy reliance on hydropower. ‘This initiative will not only leverage approx $48 million in private sector-led investment that will in turn support the development of a 34 Megawatt peak solar photo-voltaic power plant by Ngonye Power Company Limited.’ (www.infrastructurene.ws)
Learn more about energy investment opportunities in Zambia at: www.ametrade.org/zimeczambia
Mozambique is also another African country that heavily intent on focussing on renewables. 60% of Mozambicans have no access to electricity and thus the country has taken on the initiative of ensuring that within 15 years the entire country will have access to electricity mostly using hydro and solar power. ‘Mozambique’s solar 40 MW solar plant is aimed to deliver power to the national grid and produce energy for some 175,000 households. The solar project is backed by the International Finance Corporation (World Bank’s private sector) and the public-private Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.’ (www.reuters.com/article/us-mozambique-power)
Learn more about energy investment opportunities in Zambia at: www.ametrade.org/mozmec
The African Development bank has approved a $30 million investment to finance small-scale renewable energy projects with Côte d’Ivoire as one of the sub-Saharan countries. Off-grid solar firm Lumos Global have also expanded to Côte d’Ivoire. The largest solar plant (33MW) is also located in the West African country of Burkina Faso. ‘The plant, requiring investment of €47.5 million (US$56.7 million) was funded with €25 million of donations from the EU and a €25 million loan from France’s development agency.’ (www.pv-tech.org/news/west-africas-largest-solar-plant-nears-grid-connection-in-burkino-faso)
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