ABU DHABI (
Thomson Reuters Foundation)-
The head of the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts that Africa will usher in a "solar revolution" with a scale and importance comparable to the rapid growth in mobile phone use on the continent 20 years ago. Fast-
Adnan Amin, Director-General of Irena, said the drop in the cost of solar power, coupled with the huge demand for electricity from the African continent and the huge amount of sun, meant that solar energy had tremendous potential in Africa.
"Africa has huge solar potential," he said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
He said sunshine in continental Europe was 117% higher than in Germany, which now has the highest installed solar capacity.
"Africa has never been so likely to realize this potential and the cost has never been so low," he said. Both grid-
Connect solar energy and turn it off-
Grid Solar Energy Now Provides "Costs"-
Amin said competition means meeting growing energy needs and providing electricity to 600 million Africans who currently lack electricity.
Innovations include better transmission and storage of solar energy, as well as new payment systems, which also mean that more solar energy in Africa can boost economic development and create jobs for millions of people on the continent, he said.
"Africa's enormous solar potential provides a tremendous opportunity for people to engage in a range of economic activities, such as irrigation and agriculture. -
Nairobi said: "The process has begun. " -born Amin.
Compared with traditional fuels, the forward cost of solar energy may be high, but there are many technological and financial advances, such as payment. -as-you-
He said Go-Solar, which pays for mobile phones, is helping to solve the problem.
Even higher initial costs are falling, and solar panel prices are expected to continue to fall, he said.
Price of solar micro-power generation-
The grid, a facility unrelated to the large state grid system, is expected to decline by at least 60% over the next 20 years.
"Rapid wage growth-as-you-
Go-Solar Home Systems and integration with mobile payment technologies are an example of the speed of innovation that is taking place.
In East Africa alone, more than 4500 such systems have been deployed, "he said.
Irena estimates that 60 million Africans are already using it. -
Some form of grid renewable electricity.
But Amin said that in order to further substantially expand the use of solar energy, countries need a sound regulatory framework, a master plan to help attract local investors and a sufficient number of entrepreneurs.
He said government financial institutions also need to help reduce the risks investors face in financing large solar projects to keep lending rates low.
This view is shared by Snehar Shah, director of Azuri East Africa, a solar company that has sold more than 100,000 solar home systems in East Africa over the past four years.
He believes that most East Africans living far away from the national grid will need to rely on solar power -- and emerging innovations will persuade them to do so.
"Just as fixed-line used to be a protected area for the African elite, but now almost everyone owns a mobile phone, solar power offers greater possibilities for expansion than the grid," Shah said.
"Compared with the cost of access to power grids in Africa, solar energy is cost-effective, and it is stable to ensure power outages, which is the daily business of power grids. (power), are non-
There is, "he said.
Reliability, he said, "is a factor that attracts people to use solar energy. "
Solar companies such as Azuri provide not only solar panels, but also components that make full use of solar energy, such as efficient LED lights, televisions, flashlights, telephone chargers and radios, Shah said.
The company also provides customers with financing, reducing the need to seek independent bank loans.
Pavel Oimeke, director of renewable energy at Kenya's Energy Regulatory Commission, said developing policies to support solar energy growth would be key to continuing to absorb solar energy.
Some African countries have reduced or eliminated import tariffs on solar energy equipment and appliances, while others, such as Kenya, have set attractive feedstuffs. -
Attract investment in solar power plants in renewable energy tariffs.