AFRICA: solar energy to meet the challenge of electrification and energy transition

Solar energy is one of the preferred solutions for electrification in Africa. This relatively easy-to-use energy is also an ally in the energy transition in certain economically advanced countries, notably South Africa and Egypt. But the industry faces a number of obstacles, including a lack of funding and poorly developed transmission infrastructure. AFRIK 21 takes a closer look at this cheap energy.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), 600 million Africans still have no access to electricity. One obvious solution is to exploit the continent’s potential for photovoltaic solar energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates the solar energy potential of the African continent at 60 million TWh per year, compared with 3 million TWh per year for Europe, for example. The countries of northern and southern Africa are the most advantaged on the continent. There is also considerable solar potential in East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. Central Africa, on the other hand, has less solar potential, due to its equatorial climate and forest-dominated ecosystems that reduce the penetration of the sun’s rays.