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Basking in the solar surge

The Kumasi factory installation is the largest distributed solar power project for an industrial manufacturer in Ghana. (Image source: Daystar Power)

The meteoric rise of solar power is set to continue across the globe and within Africa’s energy ecosystem in an effort to meet mounting power demand

African Review’s March issue included a dedicated feature on the growing contribution of solar on the continent. In a report focused on solar specifically, the Africa Solar Industry Association (AFSIA) published a 2024 outlook, and celebrated “a sustained growth trajectory for solar across the globe.”

In the paper, AFSIA noted that the world added around 350GW of solar generation in 2023 (a figure attained through comparison of various sources), representing a 46% increase in installations and the most it has ever added in history.

Africa has broken records of its own, experiencing “an unprecedented surge in demand and innovation,” according to AFSIA. While solar additions only represented 1% of that of the world’s, the 3.7GW that came online in 2023 was the best performance ever recorded by the continent and means it is now home to around 16GW of solar capacity (and AFSIA suggests this is an underestimation as it does not account for residential installation and unknown projects).

A key driver of this growth has been the need of the business community, with companies seeking to address their own power needs in the face of relatively weak utilities and increasingly opting for solar due to the downward trend of prices (as opposed to that of fuel).

As such, most of the added capacity in 2023 was through C&I projects, contrary to most other parts of the world.

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