Solar power in Africa

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Solar potential in Africa

Many African countries receive on average a very high amount[vague] of days per year with bright sunlight, especially the dry areas, which include the deserts (such as the Sahara) and the steppes (such as the Sahel).[1] Most of the sunniest places in the world are on the African continent, due to the general low cloud cover in the sky. This gives solar power the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa without the need for expensive large scale grid level infrastructural developments. We can actually consider, the African continent has on average more than 3,000 sunny hours on year-based average.

Declining solar equipment costs are expected to significantly increase solar installations in Africa with an industry projection forecasting that the continent's annual PV market will expand to 2.2 GW by 2018.[2]

The Kingdom of Morocco’s solar plan, which is one of the world’s largest solar energy projects and estimated to cost about $9 billion, was introduced in November 2009 with the aim of establishing 2,000MW of solar power by 2020. Five sites have been selected for the development of solar power plants combining a number of technologies including Concentrated Solar Production, Parabolic Through as well as Photovoltaics, with the 500MW phase one solar power complex at Ouarzazate being the first to be developed.[3][4][5] The first part of the 500MW project is set produce 160MW of power by 2015.[6] Morocco, the only African country to have a power cable link to Europe, aims to benefit from the €400bn ($573.8bn) expected to come from the ambitious pan-continental Desertec Industrial Initiative.[7]

A 50 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for Garissa, in Kenya, which is expected to produce approximately 76,473 MWh/year.[8]

A 155 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for Ghana, and is expected to be completed in 2015.[9]

A 75 MW solar power plant started production on September 13, 2013 in Kalkbult, in South Africa's Northern Cape (implemented by Scatec). Two other PV plants will be completed by the same company in 2014. These are located at Linde in the Northern Cape and Dreunberg in the Eastern Cape, both sun drenched regions boasting some of the best conditions for solar power in the world. Altogether, these 3 plants will provide power for around 90,000 South African households.

There are also many small-scale modular solar power installations being implemented across the continent at the village and household levels. [10]

The distribution of solar resources across Africa is fairly uniform, with more than 85% of the continent's landscape receiving at least 2,000 kWh/(m² year).[11][12][13]

Year Photovoltaics CSP
MWp GWh/yr MWp GWh/yr
2010 40
2011 41


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solar Power in Africa, National Solar Power Research Institute, Yansane A. 2007
  2. ^ "Middle East and Africa Solar PV Demand to Grow by 50 Percent in 2014, According to NPD Solarbuzz". NPD Group. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  3. ^
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  8. ^ Chinese firms to build solar power plant in Garissa
  9. ^ Ghana solar energy plant set to be Africa's largest
  10. ^ Kemeny, P; Munro, P G; Schiavone, N; van der Horst, G; Willans, S (2014). "Community Charging Stations in rural sub-Saharan Africa: Commercial success, positive externalities, and growing supply chains". Energy For Sustainable Development 23: 228–236. doi:10.1016/j.esd.2014.09.005. 
  11. ^ German Aerospace Center, Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, Section Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment (April 2005), Concentrating Solar Power for the Mediterranean Region (PDF) 
  12. ^ Free, clean solar energy year-round
  13. ^ Solar Radiation Maps: Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI), Solar GIS 
  14. ^ Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016