28 January 2021 – The solar market has seen rapid African growth over the years. According to the industry experts, Africa has shown great progress in the development of its solar energy markets.
The 13th annual Africa Energy Indaba, held virtually from 1 to 5 March 2021, will assemble representatives from development banks, investment funds, solar developers, IPPs, EPCs and other solar stakeholders to engage in comprehensive dialogues to solve Africa’s solar energy challenges in an endeavour to see projects realised. There are challenges, despite the solar market’s rapid African growth.
The virtual conference is sure to enlighten attendees on what African leaders and businesses are doing to enable the supply of reliable and sustainable energy for the continent. This definitive global platform is focused on connecting solar project development and finance and investment in the four leading solar electrification segments (utility-scale, commercial & industrial, mini/microgrids and off-grid).
According to the industry experts, Africa has shown great progress in the development of its solar energy markets over the years. The continent has experienced a growth of over 1.8 GW of new solar installations, with 1.4 GW coming from photovoltaic (PV) installations, which was a significant jump from the 786 MW that was brought online in 2017. In 2016, South Africa had 1,329 MW of installed solar power capacity and this capacity is expected to reach 8,400 MW by 2030. Two new solar plants now feeding 132MW into South Africa’s grid and two utility-scale solar plants in the Northern Cape, Aggeneys Solar and Konkoonsies II Solar, have commenced commercial operations, adding a collective 132MW to South Africa’s generation capacity.
“Addressing Africa’s large and persistent power deficit is key to achieving economic and social targets. There is significant potential for solar power, both at the utility and off-grid scale, to assist in reducing this shortfall, says the Africa Energy Indaba MD, Liz Hart. This is owing particularly to the given high solar irradiation in many countries, as well as the declining price of PV equipment in recent years.
Governments increasingly see both forms of solar power as critical to their electrification objectives. In an endeavour to increase investment on the continent’s solar front, African ministers are encouraging international investors to participate in solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) processes and empowering them to own and operate solar farms in their own capacity.
Many African nations have employed solar energy as a solution to tackling climate change, keeping abreast of their development, and ensuring food security. Extensive research from some of the world’s most renowned energy experts has elucidated that no other energy source, including hydro and wind, can provide power and have an impact as sustainable, reliable, and efficient as solar.
However, successful implementation of solar is futile without regional cooperation to enable expediating the process of implementing solar under a single framework. As most municipalities operate completely independently from one another, this consequently implies that they are unable to foresee or understand the benefits or the process pertaining to such regional integration initiatives.