Solar Startups Are Plugging Africa’s Energy Gap
By Akinyi Ochieng and Fadekemi Abiru
Life without electricity can be dangerous and difficult. While Scranton, Pennsylvania earned the moniker “Electric City” in 1880, 90% of rural Americans still lacked power by the 1940s. When the wealthiest nation is just a few decades removed from full electrification, does this make electrifying Africa, where nearly 600 million live without it, the world’s most urgent yet daunting developmental challenge?
Based on current trends, the World Bank predicts that even by 2040 over half a billion people in Sub-Saharan Africa will still lack electricity. Although energy use across sub-Saharan Africa has risen by 45% since 2000, supply has not kept pace with demand. However, the emerging potential of cost-competitive solar solutions may soon propel Africa into a bright future. Across the continent, entrepreneurs have driven the growth of the world’s most attractive green energy market by developing ambitious off-grid and utility-scale solar projects.
Photo courtesy of Karsten Würth.