International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that falling technology costs will make solar photovoltaics (PV) one of the cheapest ways to meet power needs and increase energy access in Africa.
IRENA said in a new report it released on September 22 that the business case for solar PV in Africa is stronger than ever, thanks to rapidly declining technology costs.
The report, estimates that installed costs for power generated by utility-scale solar PV projects in Africa have decreased as much as 61 per cent since 2012.
It added that today, installed costs for these projects are as low as $1.30 per watt in Africa, compared to the global average of $1.80 per watt.
“In recent years, solar PV costs have dropped dramatically and will continue to do so with further declines of up to 59 per cent possible in the next ten years,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin.
“These cost reductions, coupled with vast solar potential on the continent, present a huge opportunity for Africa. Both grid-connected and off-grid solar PV now offer a cost-competitive means to meet rising energy needs and bring electricity to the 600 million Africans who currently lack access,” added Amin.
The report explained that mini-grids utilising solar PV and off-grid solar home systems also provide higher quality energy services at the same or lower costs than the alternatives.
“Africa’s solar potential is enormous, with solar irradiation levels up to 117 per cent higher than in Germany – the country with the highest installed solar power capacity,” said Amin, adding that: “It has never been more possible, and less expensive for Africa to realise this potential.”