Solar Energy in Africa


The countries of Africa all have excellent conditions for the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources such as wind and geothermal energy. However, solar energy is still used very little in most African countries. However, there are signs of a rethink.

Major projects such as DESERTEC have brought Africa’s solar energy potential to the fore in Germany as well as in other European countries. However, this is only one of many approaches to developing Africa’s solar energy potential.
The aim of the study is to present the different strategies for the use of solar energy (and other modern renewable energy technologies) on the basis of the different energy economic starting positions of the African states (rural electrification, overuse of biomass potentials, scarcity of power plant capacity, capacity bottlenecks in electricity transport and distribution, etc.) and to examine their effectiveness.


Depending on the initial situation and problems, the strategies and instruments are very different. In countries with a low degree of rural electrification, the promotion of decentralised power generation plants (solar home systems, SHS) is in the foreground (off-grid energization). In countries with a high degree of electrification and scarce generation capacities, approaches to promoting large grid-connected plants dominate. There are also programmes to promote solar water heating (SWH).
The implementation of these strategies is hampered by a variety of obstacles. In the case of grid-connected PV systems, these are low tariffs, lack of standard feed-in contracts, etc..

Methodical approach:

The study uses a 3-step approach. In a first step, available data on energy generation and use in African countries will be evaluated. This step, which mainly relies on data from the World Bank, serves to describe the initial situation in the energy industry. In a second step, an in-depth analysis of market conditions and government support strategies for five countries with different starting situations and problems (South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana and Morocco) is carried out. The collection of information within the framework of the country studies is based on the evaluation of technical literature and government documents, personal discussions with experts as well as participation in workshops, etc. The information is collected in the context of the country studies. In the third and final step, experts from a large number of African countries will be interviewed about the situation of solar energy use and promotion in their countries. This is an online survey using a largely standardised questionnaire (closed questions).