Solar power in Africa

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Solar potential in Africa

Solar power in Africa has the potential to provide all of the world's energy, by using only a small portion of the Sahara Desert. The Desertec project is a proposal to provide 15% of Europe's energy from the desert.[1]

Many African countries receive on average a very high amount 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).[2] 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.

A 50 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for Garissa, in Kenya, which is expected to produce approximately 76,473 MWh/year.[3]

A 155 MW photovoltaic power plant is planned for Ghana, and is expected to be completed in 2015.[4]

A 75 MW solar power plant started production on September 13th, 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.

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).[5][6][7]

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


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "First steps to bring Saharan solar to Europe". EurActiv. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Solar Power in Africa, National Solar Power Research Institute, Yansane A. 2007
  3. ^ Chinese firms to build solar power plant in Garissa
  4. ^ Ghana solar energy plant set to be Africa's largest
  5. ^ German Aerospace Center, Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, Section Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment (April 2005), Concentrating Solar Power for the Mediterranean Region 
  6. ^ Free, clean solar energy year-round
  7. ^ Solar Radiation Maps: Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI), Solar GIS 
  8. ^ Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016