October 11

Press Release: 70 Million People Gained Energy via Off-Grid Solar Despite COVID – New Report Shows

A new report shows that the off-grid solar industry continues to grow, with 70 million more people having gained access to electricity through off-grid solar power since 2019. The Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: State of The Sector report published today by the World Bank’s Lighting Global, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), GOGLA, Efficiency for Access Coalition, and Open Capital Advisors shows that the off-grid solar industry remained resilient despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. Today, 490 million people are accessing energy through off-grid solar solutions, an 18% increase since 2019.

However, 733 million people around the globe still do not have access to electricity.  The number of people projected to be without access to electricity by 2030 has grown by 10 million when compared to pre-COVID levels as the rise in access is not keeping pace with population growth, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. For 55% of these households, off-grid solar will be the least-cost solution to gain basic electricity access in the next five years, a  fundamental step in reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 of universal access to affordable and reliable energy. Growing application of off-grid solar power in the appliance market has also expanded the sector’s potential to benefit other development areas, such as health and food security.


The sector has proven more resilient than many expected when COVID-19 erupted, though some companies have struggled

  • Investments into the industry continued to grow, reaching over $2.3 billion since 2012. However, the majority of finance went to 7 companies operating at scale, while those in their seed and start-up phase have found attracting financing more difficult.
  • Sales of solar energy kits dropped 22% in 2020, but began to see growth again in 2021.
  • Rural homes and businesses make up the clear majority of off-grid solar customers, but the pandemic has accelerated a trend for companies to additionally service the sizable urban and weak grid markets.

Off-grid solar products help achieve a faster and more just clean energy transition, building the adaptive capacity and resilience of climate-vulnerable people

  • Governments and development partners have recognized the potential of off-grid solutions to power agriculture, enterprise, and healthcare.
  • Solar water pumps (SWPs) and solar cooling, seen as ‘emerging’ technologies two years ago, have rapidly matured and are now classified as ‘near-to-market’ – and are already improving food production and storage.
  • Over 10.5 million businesses are using solar energy kits to increase their income and productivity, while the industry itself is supporting over 370,000 green jobs.

Photo courtesy of Dfid – UK Department for International Development.

Source: GOGLA (link opens in a new window)

energy access, off-grid energy, renewable energy, SDGs, solar