As Africa Climate Summit promotes solar, off-grid power ramps up below the Sahara

According to the World Bank, the number of so-called minigrids, meaning solar systems that support a cluster of homes or businesses, has grown from 500 in Africa in 2000 to 3,000 today.

In Kenya, the price of electricity has risen due to higher fuel costs, driving some to form their own local grids.

In Nigeria, as in Kenya, things are changing.   Most households have depended on gasoline generators for power, but recently the government removed a gasoline subsidy, prompting increased interest in solar power, according to dealers.

Where the government has been unhelpful, the private sector has taken the lead in promoting it by offering households and small businesses the option of paying for their solar installations over time.