With the Power & Electricity World Africa 2017 conference recently completed in Johannesburg, Africa seems poised to take advantage of massive growth in off-grid solar. In an article by Anine Kilian in ENGINEERING NEWS she says according to South African Solar Photovoltaic Committee chairperson Jo Dean “Off-Grid solar power could help lower the energy costs for 138-million households in Africa that live on less than $2.50 a day and spend about $10-billion a year on energy-related products, including charcoal, candles and kerosene.” (full article here)

An article published by UC BERKELY reiterates this point stating “Renewable energy in Africa has a robust future.”

IMAGE: THE LOCATION AND ENERGY POTENTIAL, IN TERAWATT HOURS, OF EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN RENEWABLE RESOURCES (WIND, SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC AND CONCENTRATING SOLAR POWER).

They concluded that with the right strategy for placing solar and wind farms, and with international sharing of power, most African nations could lower the number of conventional power plants – fossil fuel and hydroelectric – they need to build, thereby reducing their infrastructure costs by perhaps billions of dollars. (full article here)

But it’s not just utility scale projects that are getting attention. In recent years there has been a rapid shift of luxury African bush lodges energy practices from diesel to solar-hybrid. The bottom line is that lodges are seeing substantial financial gains as well as meeting eco/sustainability goals by switching to solar.

A prime example amongst a sea of solar resorts is Ghoha Hills, which will open a new 28-bed Nogatsaa Pans Lodge in the remote Nogatsaa/Tchinga area of the Chobe National Park, Botswana, in July. The new lodge will be designed similarly to Ghoha Hills and will run purely on solar energy.

It’s an exciting time in Africa, and as the price of solar continues to fall, one can only see a brighter future for solar and other renewables on the continent.