Africa's Solar Potential Shines Over the Horizon

Africa's Solar Potential Shines Over the Horizon

/ Renewables / Wednesday, 09 November 2022 09:37

The world’s interest in investing in Africa’s abundant resources has helped drive its economy. However, as we struggle with the issues caused by non-renewable energy sources, we should turn our attention to Africa’s unique potential to harness solar energy.

Across the region, electricity generation from renewables has more than doubled in the last two decades, with Egypt and South Africa leading the way. Because many African governments recognize the need to provide adequate electricity to the masses, investors might find groundbreaking opportunities in helping these nations not only provide and distribute electricity more fairly but also reach net-zero emissions targets. 

Why Africa Is the Perfect Place for Solar

Thanks to its geography and climate, Africa has an abundance of open land with very little cloud coverage, resulting in long periods of bright sunlight year-round. Seeing that there is no need for large-scale grid infrastructure, solar power can be utilized and distributed in a manner that is advantageous for citizens.

According to Statista, Africa has the highest long-term solar energy power output in the world, slightly exceeding the threshold of 4.5 kWh/kWp per day; in other words, the sun does not shine equally on everyone, and evidently, it favors Africa.

Solar Energy as a Catalyst for Good 

The above numbers show that there is a huge opportunity to boost economies in 70 countries where solar power is most suitable. Only 20% of the world's population lives in those countries, which indicates that a large percentage of Africans have been excluded from electricity sources connected to the grid, preventing economic development and keeping people from getting adequate amenities.

Africa can create new and tangible opportunities for its citizens by leveraging its abundant renewable resources and moving away from fossil fuels to provide affordable and sustainable electricity services. Investors seeking long-term, scalable financial prospects may find multiple opportunities in solar power's potential across the continent.

The Unexploited Potential 

In the less developed countries of Africa, a lot of this potential is still untapped. Africa has 60% of the world's best solar resources, but only 1% of its solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is installed. Those who seize the opportunity early will benefit long-term from Africa's untapped potential. 

South Africa and Egypt have the biggest solar capacity, followed by Algeria. By 2050, energy company BP predicts that around 30% of Africa’s energy production will be from solar power.

According to the World Bank’s Global Solar Atlas, Africa’s solar potential is described as a “unique opportunity” to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to “a large share of humanity where improved economic opportunities and quality of life are the most needed.”

Varied and Scalable Opportunities

The large proportion of Africans living in rural or remote locations makes renewable energy technologies an ideal fit. Because solar energy solutions are scalable and don't require grid connectivity, delivering affordable and sustainable electricity services via micro and off-grid renewable systems is a great opportunity for private investors.

The message that Africa is open for business in terms of solar energy and renewable technology is clear in the headlines. Clean energy and sustainable development are priorities, allowing for capitalization on Africa's extraction and manufacturing strengths to support the adoption and rollout of solar energy. The demand for electricity services continues to rise, and reaching economic and demographic objectives for the continent's population will rely heavily on versatile green energy sources such as solar energy.

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