Africa, possible home to 70,000MW of solar PV capacity by 2030 – IRENA

A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has said African countries could generate up to 70,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity using solar by 2030 if the right policies to encourage solar PV deployment are put in place.

The report provides an overview of the most comprehensive costing data available on solar PV in Africa. It reviews market opportunities and challenges, and recommends actions to collect more robust data for future analysis.

According to it, global capacity additions for solar PV have increased six-fold since 2009, a trend that is now beginning to materialise in Africa.

It explained that more than 800 new megawatts of solar PV capacity was added in Africa in 2014 – doubling the continents cumulative capacity – and another 750MW was added in 2015.

IRENA thus estimated that with the right enabling policies, Africa could be home to more than 70 gigawatts (70,000MW) of solar PV capacity by 2030.

Nigeria recently signed off power purchase agreements to enable the construction of 14 solar plants which will generate up to 1250MW into the country’s grid by 2018.

IRENA said that Africa has abundant renewable energy resources, and that even with its traditionally reliant on hydropower, it is turning to solar PV to bolster energy security and support rapid economic growth in a sustainable manner.

The report discusses challenges in policy making and proposes a co-ordinated effort to collect data on the installed costs of solar PV in Africa, across all market segments.

IRENA said such information in the report will improve the efficiency of policy support and accelerate deployment.