The Role of Solar Energy in Solving Africa’s Energy Needs

By Soko Directory Team / March 6, 2017


Energy in Africa is a scarce commodity than in the developed world. Electrical provisioning in Africa has generally only reached wealthy, urban middle class, and commercial sectors, bypassing the regions large rural populations and urban poor. According to the forum of Energy Ministers of Africa, most agriculture still relies primarily on humans and animal energy input. The electrical industry in Africa faces the economic paradox that raising prices will prohibit access to their services, but that they can afford to roll.

Overall rates of access to Energy in Africa have held constant since the 80’s, while the rest of the developing world has seen electrical grid distribution increase by 20%. Moreover, Africa has had an average electrification rate of 24%, while the rate in the rest of the developing world lies closer to 40%. Even in the areas covered by the electrical grid, power is often unreliable: the manufacturing sector loses power on average 56 days out of the year. Frequent power outages cause damage to sales, equipment, and discourage international investments. According to the Periodical African Business, Poor transport links and irregular power supplies have stunted the growth of domestic companies and discouraged foreign firms from setting up manufacturing plants in the continent.

General challenges Africa face in the Energy sector

Two out of three people living in Africa do not have electricity in their homes. If we continue on the current trajectory, it will take until 2080 for there to be universal electricity access on the continent. Another generation of young people will miss the opportunity that access to electricity in the home can bring.

Compared to other parts in the world, energy deprivation or the lack of access to energy is most prevalent by far in Africa .70% of the population in Africa is without electricity access, 50%of businesses view a lack of reliable electricity access as a major constraint to doing business, power outages cost countries in Africa 1-2% of the GDP annually, and Africa’s poorest pay 80 times more for electricity they do in the developed worlds.

Some of these resources are un-evenly distributed. The performance of the power sector has generally been below expectations in addition to low levels of electricity throughout the region; the sector is tenaciously erratic and intermittent supply, low capacity utilization and availability, deficient maintenance and high transmission and distribution losses.

Most power utilities in Africa are not commercially viable as they charge tariffs that bare below cost to promote access to energy by the poor majority.as a result, the utilities are not able to mobilize external capital for maintenance and expansion projects.

The reform in the power sector initiated in the late 90’s to improve operational and technical performance and ultimately to attract private investments have not yielded the expected results. Attracting private sector involvement has dominated the focus of the power sector reform orientation, thereby prioritizing profit while neglecting the need to electrify rural areas and poor urban neighborhoods. Its recognized that on the account of climate change, many African countries will face water scarcity, worsened health, lessened food security and may even affect Africa’s greatest renewable energy resource, hydropower. As a result the economic and social development will slow down or even reversed.

Why Solar could be the answer to Africa’s Energy needs

With Africa facing all the above challenges in the energy sector it would also offer a huge opportunity to target the scarce investment into clean, efficient and renewable technologies for ensuring sustainable energy supplies.

Solar as a source of energy will be able to reach more than 600 million people without electricity in Africa with the traditional systems which will be a lengthy effort. Vast rural areas will have no realistic chances of being connected for decades. This will accelerate the development of the emerging solar market in Africa. Africa can also have access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030. This may overcome hurdles and the series of the market failures that are preventing firms from raising capital by testing new approaches and reaching the poorest.

Solar energy should be harnessed in Africa for its diverse applications, low maintenance costs, technology development, easy installation, can be used in remote locations, and low electricity bills and for its renewability.

Related: Energy Regulatory Commission Approves Centum’s AMU Power Plant


Written by Amina Martha.



About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

View other posts by Soko Directory Team



Other Related Articles








SOKO DIRECTORY & FINANCIAL GUIDE

ARCHIVES

2018
  • January 2018 (291)
  • February 2018 (221)
  • March 2018 (279)
  • April 2018 (144)
  • 2017
  • January 2017 (183)
  • February 2017 (195)
  • March 2017 (207)
  • April 2017 (104)
  • May 2017 (169)
  • June 2017 (206)
  • July 2017 (190)
  • August 2017 (196)
  • September 2017 (186)
  • October 2017 (236)
  • November 2017 (253)
  • December 2017 (266)
  • 2016
  • January 2016 (167)
  • February 2016 (165)
  • March 2016 (190)
  • April 2016 (143)
  • May 2016 (246)
  • June 2016 (183)
  • July 2016 (271)
  • August 2016 (250)
  • September 2016 (234)
  • October 2016 (191)
  • November 2016 (244)
  • December 2016 (154)
  • 2015
  • January 2015 (1)
  • February 2015 (4)
  • March 2015 (166)
  • April 2015 (109)
  • May 2015 (117)
  • June 2015 (121)
  • July 2015 (150)
  • August 2015 (157)
  • September 2015 (189)
  • October 2015 (171)
  • November 2015 (174)
  • December 2015 (208)
  • 2014
  • March 2014 (2)
  • 2013
  • March 2013 (10)
  • June 2013 (1)
  • 2012
  • March 2012 (7)
  • April 2012 (15)
  • May 2012 (1)
  • July 2012 (1)
  • August 2012 (4)
  • October 2012 (2)
  • November 2012 (2)
  • December 2012 (1)
  • 2011
    2010
    2009
    2008
    2007
    2006
    2005
    2004
    2003
    2002
    2001
    2000
    1999
    1998
    1997
    1996
    1995
    1994
    1993
    1992
    1991
    1990
    1989
    1988
    1987
    1986
    1985
    1984
    1983
    1982
    1981
    1980
    1979
    1978
    1977
    1976
    1975
    1974
    1973
    1972
    1971
    1970
    1969
    1968
    1967
    1966
    1965
    1964
    1963
    1962
    1961
    1960
    1959
    1958
    1957
    1956
    1955
    1954
    1953
    1952
    1951
    1950