Solar set to have a huge boost in Africa as costs fall

Installed costs for solar has decreased by 61% in Africa since 2012. They are as low as $1.30 (£0.98) per watt, compared to the global average of £1.80/w (£1.36/w), according […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Installed costs for solar has decreased by 61% in Africa since 2012.

They are as low as $1.30 (£0.98) per watt, compared to the global average of £1.80/w (£1.36/w), according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

That makes solar one of the cheapest ways to meet power needs and increase energy access in Africa.

The cost of solar mini grids has dropped too and is now $1.90/w (£1.4/w) for systems larger than 200KW and solar home systems are lower than $0.56 (£0.42) per year.

Solar capacity in the continent has increased six-fold since 2009, with more than 800MW of new installations in 2014 and 750MW in 2015, IRENA states.

It estimates Africa could have more than 70GW of solar by 2030 with the right policies in place.

Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said: “In recent years, solar PV costs have dropped dramatically and will continue to do so with further declines of up to 59% possible in the next 10 years. These cost reductions, coupled with vast solar potential on the continent, present a huge opportunity for Africa. Both grid-connected and off-grid solar now offer a cost-competitive means to meet rising energy needs and bring electricity to the 600 million Africans who currently lack access.”