Solar PV could cater to Sub-Saharan Africa’s power troubles amid COVID-19 pandemic

The lockdowns imposed across Africa as a measure to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic could play as an opportunity to fast-track the adoption of solar power in the continent, as major nations in the region are announcing plans to turn to solar photovoltaics (PV) to deal with the energy crisis aroused by the pandemic, says GlobalData, a leading data, and analytics company. 

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Somik Das, Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments:“Falling electricity demand due to COVID-19 lockdowns have meant that nations in the region need to turn to an alternative source of energy to maintain grid stability in what is an already patchy electricity network. In addition, the recent oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has posed an existential threat to the oil and gas industry in the region.”

Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) recently unveiled solar-related pandemic response measures, including the emergency provision of solar home systems and solar mini-grid solutions for medical and health centers. The REA under the Nigeria Electrification Project joined hands with the African Development Bank and the World Bank to expedite grants for solar home system providers and PV mini-grid developers.

Overseas players are pouncing on the opportunity for off-grid system demand. German pay-as-you-go solar distributor Redavia announced plans to provide its systems to companies in Ghana and Kenya free for six months before offering the option of signing a lease.

Das added: “Sub-Saharan nations are facing an unprecedented crisis with disastrous and unpredictable consequences to the oil industry. The pandemic and price war has led to a historical fall in crude oil prices, with such falls last seen during the Gulf War. In times of such difficulty, turning to solar PV might be a great initiative. However, rigorous planning is needed to ensure that disruptions in the global solar PV supply chain doesn’t affect this shift that is planned to take place.”

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