Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania top market for Off-Grid Energy Solutions

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania are Africa’s largest markets for off- grid energy solutions, East African Business Week reports.

This is according to a new report released by the World Bank Group and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in collaboration with the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).

According to the report, the three countries accounts for 66 percent of unit sales in the region making them the largest markets for off-grid energy solutions in Sub Saharan Africa.

The report notes that by 2020, the sales of off-grid solar products in emerging markets are expected to reach $3.1 billion, providing access to improved energy for 99 million households with no access to the grid.

The report, titled “Off-Grid Solar Market Trends”, tracks the ground-breaking technological advances and innovative business models which have emerged to transform the lives of millions through affordable modern solar energy services.

It shows that the off-grid solar industry is booming and a growing wave of development partners and investors are committing significant funds, with a primary focus on pay-as-you-go business models.

The report finds that annual investments into the industry have risen to $276 million in 2015, a fifteen-fold increase since 2012.

It also shows that 89 million people in Africa and Asia already enjoy improved access to energy by using off-grid solar products. While Off-grid solar has barely scratched the surface of its potential globally, it is no longer a niche product in the countries that have seen most concentrated sales efforts.

In Kenya for instance, more than 30 percent of people living off the grid have a solar product at home.

“The report provides a comprehensive view of the state of one of the most impactful industries in the global economy today,” said Russell Sturm, Global Head of IFC’s Energy Access and World Bank Group’s Lighting Global program.

“This is the third in a series produced by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program since the industry’s emergence seven years ago and illustrates how off-grid solar can be a game changer for development as well as a unique business opportunity for the private sector in the energy access space.”

Solar-powered portable lights and home kits offer a safer, cheaper and environmentally friendlier service to the 1.2 billion people who live without access to the power grid and currently spend about $27 billion annually on biomass.

“The pay-as-you-go business model combines rapid innovation in solar, batteries and LED lights with the transformative power of mobile communication technology,” Itamar Orlandi, BNEF’s Head of Applied Research.

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