Africa: the future of solar

The country boasting the world’s fastest growing clean energy investment isn’t America, and isn’t located in Western Europe- it’s in Africa. This shouldn’t be surprising as some parts of the continent enjoy solar radiation of between 4kWh and 6kWh per square meter- and since 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, the whole continent naturally needs increasingly more energy to fuel it’s exciting economic growth!

But according to Teo Kermeliotis’ piece on CNN.com, experts are calling for more investments in large-scale solar power projects to keep up with that rapid growth. Based on the International Energy Agency’s assessment, just recently, coal, oil and gas together accounted for 81% of Africa’s total power generation, and nuclear and hydropower made up another 18%. Other renewable sources, including solar, accounted for just 1% of total energy output.

Kermeliotis’ outlines several obstacles that could account for Solar’s small piece of the energy pie- but Mark Hankins, director of the Kenya-based African Solar Designs said, “There needs to be a serious reassessment of how to do policy and finance to help solar meet its potential in Africa” he continues, “[this] means using solar to address the energy sector needs for on and off grid and using it to help business. Solar needs to be at the table, with all of the other technologies.”

And some nations, like Ghana, Kenya and South Africa have already moved quickly towards including solar at the table. Read Kermeliotis’ entire article, “Bright sun, bright future: can Africa unlock its solar potential?”  To learn about the newest solar projects being developed, the obstacles solar enthusiasts may face, and the awesome potential for solar throughout the entire continent.

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