The hidden growth of solar energy in Africa

Of all continents, Africa receives the largest amounts of solar energy. The continent is therefore often cited as a growth market for solar power, but statistics about the current use of it are scarce. Only after some digging, it becomes clear that strong growth is already taking place.
Solar power in Rwanda
8.5 megawatt solar farm in Rwanda (source: Gigawatt Global, 2014)

When you look at reports about the worldwide use of solar power, Africa seems to be an insignificant market. The continent is often hidden in the category ‘Middle East & Africa’ and even that combination seems to cancel out completely against solar giants like China, Japan, Europe and the US. [1]

All the more interesting was the presentation of a paper at the EU PVSEC in Amsterdam in September 2014, titled ‘Global installed photovoltaic capacity and identification of hidden growth markets’. An impressive article with in the attachment a list of solar power statistics in almost 200 countries.

Recently, an update of these statistics was published. Based upon this update, Energy Indeed has mapped the solar power market in Africa. The results of this exercise show that the market is indeed still small, but that strong growth is already taking place. This growth is not limited to one country or region, but it occurs widespread across the continent. [2]

Solar power in Africa
Solar power statistics per region and for six big countries in Africa

[1] International Energy Agency, Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (2015) – Snapshot of Global PV Markets 2014.

[2] Ch. Werner, A. Gerlach, Ch. Breyer, S. Orlandi & G. Masson (2015) - Latest Developments in Global Installed Photovoltaic Capacity and Hidden Growth Markets.

Mark Meijer - published: August 4, 2015 - updated: October 26, 2015

Mark Meijer MSc.