Off-Grid Electricity Projects Are Starved for Funds
Despite innovative off-grid technology and high-profile initiatives, electrification in sub-Saharan Africa still trails population growth. In 2009 there were 585 million people in the region without power. Five years later, that figure had risen to 632 million, according to the latest International Energy Agency statistics.
A first-of-its-kind analysis of the flow of capital, released in September by the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All program, shows that off-grid systems simply are not getting the support they deserve.
“This research shows that only 1 percent of financing for electrification is going into this very promising and dynamic energy solution,” says program CEO Rachel Kyte, who calls the findings “a wake-up call” to the international community.
The 20 countries targeted in the U.N. report account for 80 percent of the estimated 1.06 billion people around the globe living without electricity. The report found that total investment in electricity infrastructure averaged US $19.4 billion a year in 2013 and 2014 (the latest year with full statistics). Of that, only $200 million per year was dedicated to off-grid systems.
Photo courtesy of Ken Teegardin.