Although Africa is home to some of the world’s most abundant solar resources and struggles with some of the lowest electrification rates, the development of solar generation capacity across the continent has traditionally been hampered by investor perceptions of high risk and cost, limited institutional capacity and lack of scale.
As the cost associated with solar power development continues to fall, however, massive procurement rounds in South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia are leading a transformation in solar generation capacity. According to analysis from African Energy, solar capacity is set to ramp up to 15GW by 2025, more than three times the 7.1GW recorded at end-2021. Significantly, the average pipeline project size dwarfs what is currently operational in Africa, pointing to a movement towards utility-scale solar power.
Encouragingly, there are also clear signs of more widespread adoption, with significant additions expected in other countries, such as Ethiopia, Angola, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad – indeed, all but five African countries are expected to have a grid-connected solar project by 2025.
Commercial & Industrial
This also trend extends to other forms of generation – with solar C&I a particularly “high growth potential” market, African Energy writes, as exponential increases seen between 2015 and 2021 in off-grid and embedded projects forecast to continue to 2025, with a blistering 400% growth rate over this period to a total of 3GW. This unprecedented pace in C&I solar will exceed growth in other forms of generation to such an extent that total solar capacity in this space will become broadly comparable to fuels which currently dominate C&I, such as natural gas (3.3GW).
Read more of African Energy’s expert analysis here:
Africa Investment Exchange
The African Investment Exchange is hosting in-depth discussions on these topics, and is well-equipped with expert stakeholders to constructively discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the industry.
4 October: African power data: Renewable energy trends
The meeting is free for all AIX members and African Energy subscribers
Join Ajay Ubhi and other African Energy analysts for a webinar on the latest trends in Africa’s renewable power generation. The webinar will start with a presentation of the latest data from African Energy Live Data, the most comprehensive database of power generation plants and projects across the continent.
The webinar includes an exclusive Q&A session on the data with African Energy analysts. A PDF of the presentation, including charts illustrating the headline trends will be made available to all participants and AIX Members.
November 16-17: AIX: Power & Renewables 2022
RSA House, London
The event will feature a number of panel discussions relevant to Africa’s rapidly developing solar sector, including:
Managing intermittency and guaranteeing baseload
- Managing intermittent renewables
- Calculating least cost–structuring capacity contracts
- Operating hydro, thermal, and batteries on flexible grids
- Ancillary service markets
Is it all about C&I?
- Consolidation of fragmentation? Is there room for everyone in C&I? Is and M&A wave overdue?
- What do new third-party access regimes mean for traditional utility-scale players?
- Beating the grid– how resilient will C&I models prove if grid performance improves?
- The role of climate: Is climate, price, or energy security driving C&I, or are all three drivers required?
- Risk transfer solutions for early-stage projects and grid-connected renewable energy IPPs. What has worked in the recent past?