Off-grid solar power is on the rise in Africa

Over 622 million of the 1.1 billion Africans have no access to electricity. Off-grid solar power has great potential of become a solution for Africa’s millions, as it offers households access to basic electricity services through a battery-connected rooftop panel.

In Africa, the sector of business providing solar home system kits specially targeted at those not covered by national grids is growing rapidly. There are now about 100 off-grid solar system supplier companies. It is estimated that these companies have already sold 20 million branded pico-solar products (defined as having PV panel smaller than 10W).

In an extensive news report, Africa.com writes that Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya lead the pack in adoption of off-grid solar systems. “In fact, they account for 66 percent of all the units sold in the continent. Statistics show that in Kenya, more than 30 percent of people living off the grid have a solar product at home.

As most people in rural Africa do not have the money to buy a system right away, so-called ‘pay-as-you-go’ (PAYG) firms provide a solution. They sell kits against small installments instead of lump sum payments with technology that locks the functionality in the event of nonpayment by a customer. Africa.com reports that there are about 20 such companies that provide consumer financing active today, serving almost half a million customers, mainly in Eastern Africa.

Further reading on Africa.com

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