Solar trumps other renewables
Many renewable energies have been developed and explored. Solar, however, provides the most significant potential to light up the continent. The sun remains the most scaleable renewable resource when compared to other renewable sources. Africa also experiences high irradiation levels with the World Sunshine Map indicating that Africa receives, on average, more sunshine hours than any other continent on earth.
Solar technology is advancing with PV energy production increasing exponentially while the average cost per Watt is reducing. These changes have now made solar technology a cheap, viable alternative. Storage technology innovation and cost reductions have lagged those of PV’s but are now following a similar path with the cost of Li-based batteries dropping exponentially in the past two years.
The African energy market is large and untapped. The market is characterized by significant power generation deficits, material electricity outages, increasing tariffs, expensive diesel backup and large segments of the population without energy access at all. Sub-Saharan Africa has under-invested significantly in power generation, distribution and transmission compared to the demand, a situation that cannot be rectified by authorities without significant tariff hikes.
The distribution factors of the African population remain high, with many people living in under-developed, remote areas. This makes making solar solutions attractive for energising remote areas with limited grid access.