EU, India cooperation to scale-up off-grid solar energy across Africa
Opportunities to scale up deployment of off-grid solar essential to unlock energy access across Africa were outlined by development finance partners ahead of the launch of a new study by the International Solar Alliance and the European Investment Bank.
“The International Solar Alliance is pleased to continue our close partnership with the European Investment Bank and propose clear ways to unlock access to off-grid solar in Africa. Our joint study builds on expert insight and commercial success to detail what is needed to provide clean energy to off-grid rural areas including refugee camps, urban areas and remote villages across Africa by identifying and overcoming investment gaps and financial barriers,” said Ajay Mathur, Director General of the International Solar Alliance.
“Off-grid solar technology exists that is already harnessing clean and affordable energy that transforms the lives of millions of people. The European Investment Bank, as the EU climate bank, and International Solar Alliance are committed to accelerating access to solar power and together contribute a new milestone study that shares experience and expertise from successful off-grid deployment essential to unlock investment and technical barriers that hold back sustainable development and the green transition,” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.
Commissioned by the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the International Solar Alliance, the new study gathers best-practice and insight from successful deployment of off-grid solar investment in Asia that can benefit similar investment also across Africa.
The key recommendations of the study outline different models of intervention to overcome financing, technical and customer challenges to scale up off-grid solar deployment were unveiled ahead of the European Union – India Leaders meeting at a specialist workshop attended by representatives of AfD, KfW, FMO and the European Commission.
More than 120 million households across Africa currently cannot access electricity, with only 60 million African households expected to benefit from electrification programmes by the 2030. Sharing best-practice that allows investment and technical barriers holding back off-grid solar is key crucial to scale up off-grid solar, allow vulnerable and remote communities to access clean energy and deliver the sustainable development goal of universal access to reliable and affordable energy.
The new report, to be published in the coming weeks, examines off-grid solar investment across Africa and assesses how investment barriers including affordability, equipment supply, access to working capital, regulatory challenges, insurance and technical expertise influence and hinder deployment.
The analysis uses solutions developed in local case studies to suggest how examples such as aggregated purchase of solar home systems can reduce costs and rapidly enable low-income, urban and rural communities and refugees to access reliable energy through sustainable private sector led off-grid solar projects.
The study, based on the analysis by specialised development consulting firm Dalberg, was compiled following in-depth research on government policy, on discussions with energy, business and development finance stakeholders across Africa and stakeholder workshops in Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.
The European Investment Bank is supporting 8 off-grid solar projects across Sub-Saharan Africa. Last year the EIB provided EUR 5 million for private and public investment across Africa and is supporting off-grid solar across Africa including projects in, Chad, Comores, Gambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda.