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21 Jan 2020

Report: The Grid won't connect Africa, but Solar can

Energy Access
Renewable Energy
The grid won't connect Africa, but solar can

Africa is facing a power crunch. Demand for power from the continent’s rapidly growing and urbanising population far outstrips supply. According to estimates by the IEA, Africa’s demand for electricity has outgrown supply every year since 1990 (Chart 1), with consumption growing at 8.4% per year compared with 6.1% per year for power supply. This has created a widening power deficit which Africa’s power providers are struggling to close. The situation is exacerbated by Africa’s rapid population growth rate – one of the highest on the planet – which adds 30 million people every year.

As a result, not only is grid power inadequate for those that are connected to it, but over half of African households have no grid connectivity at all and this proportion has remained largely unchanged for the last decade.

Even in densely populated cities power connections are poor and the grid is unreliable. The situation is so severe in Lagos that many households have not one but two generators: a main generator for the household and a second back-up generator for essential services (e.g. water pumps and refrigeration) in case the first one breaks down. So prevalent has the use of diesel-powered generation become that it is estimated that off-grid power provides more than four times the level of power actually delivered by Nigeria’s national grid.

Download the report below.