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New Off-Grid Solar Market Assessments Provide Guidance for Expansion of Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Carla Visser, Power Africa Off-grid Project

Attendees at this year’s Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference in Senegal were first to see Power Africa’s off-grid solar market assessment reports in print. The reports provide comprehensive information on the off-grid solar value chain specifically related to solar home systems (SHSs), mini-grids, and productive uses of energy in the following ten sub-Saharan African countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania.

Off-grid solar market assessment report for the Democratic Republic of the Congo with figures showing geospatial analysis

“These market assessments go above and beyond any existing resource to include country- and market-specific data and analyses … I strongly encourage everyone here today to make use of these assessments of off-grid markets as you weigh decisions about expansion and investment potential”, said Mr. Peter Trenchard, USAID Mission Director for Senegal, in his remarks at the official launch of the reports in Dakar on October 16, 2019.

Left: Peter Trenchard, USAID Mission Director for Senegal, giving remarks at the 2019 Unlocking Solar Capital conference. Right: Participants at the 2019 Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference in Dakar, Senegal. Photos: RTI International

In developing the reports, writing teams performed desk studies; incorporated technical expertise from lead advisors; conducted in-country stakeholder interviews; and analyzed data from a variety of sources, including sales and investment data from the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA). The reports cover characteristics of countries’ electricity sectors; electrification targets and current electrification statuses; government regulations; donor-funded activities; gender mainstreaming; and comprehensive market information on off-grid companies and other stakeholders to provide companies, investors, governments, and other key stakeholders a comprehensive overview of off-grid solar energy markets.

“The off-grid solar market assessment series by Power Africa is very helpful in driving deeper understanding of markets where we have no current business activity. The reports were the most exhaustive and complete review of the potential markets for the industry I have seen. Having access to such information improves our ability to better assess potential markets, moreover, having the ability to couple the reports with direct conversation with in-country leads for Power Africa provides a deep perspective on the markets in question”, said Mr. Yuri Tsitrinbaum, Senior Vice President for Lumos Global.

According to Mr. Lovemore Seveni, Off-grid Specialist for USAID Power Africa, “the reports detail the entire off-grid ecosystem and analyze market penetration down to the local level so that the private sector can make informed decisions about where to expand.”

The off-grid solar market assessments, through practical analyses of current off-grid solar energy players, policies, opportunities, and risks, inform approaches aimed at effectively scaling up access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa and provide a snapshot to determine growth and changing dynamics in the market over time.

Power Africa’s off-grid solar market assessment reports are available online at: https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/beyondthegrid

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Power Africa

A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ