It is evident that the 21st century portrays a mission for sustainable, renewable and alternative energies. Solar power is one of the most advanced forms of clean energy that current technologies have to offer, it is a source of energy that is beginning to be used more widely across the globe. Solar power energy, harnessed by technologies such as solar panels, is most optimised in countries that provide the most sun. This gives the continent of Africa a significant outlet to harness renewable energies. Countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Chad and Niger are all witnessing an average of over 10 hours of sun per day. So why hasn’t Africa managed to utilise their ideal climate to produce sustainable energy?
Solar Power Potentials
There are approximately 600 million Africans who live without electricity and those that have access experience power shortages and high prices. If this continent was able to utilise solar power technologies it could transform it in many areas. Socially, more citizens will have access to electricity which will in turn bolster their economy, providing more opportunities for the people of Africa. Additionally, diversifying the economy with solar power energy will provide stability and economic growth for Africa. Having a strong focus on renewable energies also provides a more sustainable environment, a healthier environment that will be organically sustained for the future. Current means of energy through fossil fuels are simply redundant, polluting and inevitably coming to an end, countries need to take the right initiatives for a sustainable future.
Although, as a whole, Africa poses as a continent that lacks availability to constant electricity, there are a few countries that show the possibilities of alternative energies.
For example, Morocco is an iconic country, paving the way forward with solar power technology, not only for other African countries, but for all. The Moroccan government is pushing to generate over 50% of its electricity, through only renewable energy, by 2030. To enforce this, they are pending the completion of the world’s largest solar plant, through the construction of Noor Ouarzazate. This significant solar power station has already undergone many installations and is still growing. Since 2013 this project has grown and achieved incredible results.
However, for many parts of Africa, it is not that simple. The production requirements for solar power plantations aren’t something that grows overnight. It requires a substantial amount of funding and investments to ensure the projects can develop in a robust manner. African governments invested a mere $12 billion annually, towards the power sector. In order to enact sustainable methods, much larger investments are required. By 2040, approximately $63 billion will be needed to be invested in the power sector.
Alternatively, weak infrastructure that currently exists in many African countries, including those nations with traditionally stronger economies, plays a part in the scepticism against adapting renewable energy. Businesses are continuously disrupted due to Africa’s power generating capacity, causing rationing, shortages and blackouts. Infrastructural issues in Africa hinder opportunities to diversify their energy.
Steps in the right direction
Although a big proportion of Africa poses as a harsh economic landscape to introduce solar power energy, more nations are becoming aware and making the right movements towards a more sustainable future. North Africa in particular portrays a region that has adopted solar energy and it is setting an example to the rest of the continent.
Moreover, national governments are attempting to tackle the issues with scaling up these initiatives through offering more reasonable payment solutions. Pay-as-you-go solar solutions have become a success throughout the continent, providing a financially healthier framework to build upon.
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Written By Jack Evangelides, Marketing Assistant
*** The sole purpose of the article above is to generate public discussion, it has no intention to constitute legal advice. ***