Africa: a business country for solar energy sector

The African continent is increasingly turning to renewable energy technologies, and in particular to solar photovoltaics, to bolster energy security, reduce price volatility, guarantee electricity access for all and support rapid economic growth in a sustainable manner.

With the opening of the electricity production and distribution segments to private operators and recent cost reductions, solar PV (both on-grid and off-grid solutions) now offers a rapid, cost-effective pathway to providing modern energy services to the approximately 600 million Africans who lack access to electricity.

Enerray is actively present and develop business in many countries of the African Continent:


Egypt’s dependence on fossil fuels, with its depleting oil resources, controversial estimates for natural gas reserves, and rising electricity demand and energy generation, represents a clear call for action. Currently, grid connected renewable energy projects in Egypt enjoy the right of access and priority in dispatching.

The Renewable Energy Strategy of 2008 set a target of reaching 20% of total electrical energy mix from renewable energy. The Strategy identifies concrete steps, including large pilot implementation of grid-connected solar projects and electrification of rural areas.

Enerray, through its branch in Egypt, developed and co-financed three photovoltaic plants in Benban with an overall capacity of 116 MWp, that will build between 2018 and 2019.


Morocco is the only North African country with no natural oil resources and is the largest energy importer in the region. 

After the government's Global Rural Electrification Program (PERG), that rose the rural electrification level from 18% in 1995 to 96% in 2008, the focus is now on improving the installed capacity derived from renewables. The US$9bn Solar Plan calls for the development of 2,000 MW by 2020, with 10,000 hectares of solar installations (both photovoltaics and concentrated solar power) to be spread over five sites (Ouarzazate, Ain Beni Mathar, Foum El Oued, Boujdour, Sebkhat Tah).

Enerray Morocco - In partnership with IRESEN (Institut de Recherche en Energie Solaire et en Energies Nouvelles), the company has built a CSP (Concentrated Solar Power) plant of 1,5 MWe with ORC (Organic Rankine Cycle) solution in Ben Guerir. The commissioning is expected within the first half of 2019.


The fiscal dependence of Algeria from the export of liquefied natural gas, combined with the fact that over 90% of the country’s electricity generation is based on this resource, poses serious problems in facing the growing residential electricity demand.

To face this problem, Algeria expects to reach 20% renewables by 2030, mainly generated by concentrating solar power technology. The development of solar energy plants is strongly supported by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), also with regard to the theme of rural electrification in isolated zones, which are far from the gas distribution networks.


Tunisia has an high connection rate, but the growing economy and rising living standards led to a significant increase of electricity consumption, resulting in the saturation of the grid.

To develop renewable energy sector, the Tunisian National Agency for Energy Efficiency (ANME) developed a strategic plan, which covers several fields, including development and execution of the national programs of energy efficiency, and promotion of the use of renewable energy sources.


Although Nigeria is investing a lot of resources towards considerable expansion in the quantity of electric power generated, the energy delivery infrastructure is absolutely inadequate to handle the energy demand of the country (considering a population of over 150 million, the largest on the African continent). Moreover the high price paid for supplied energy from the grid makes photovoltaic systems a great solution to solve country’s energy crisis.

Gradual movement from a fossil economy to one driven by an increasing share of renewable energy has been identified by the country’s Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) launched in 2006, which set a target for solar pv by 2025 of 500 MWp; and by the Energising Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) programme that aims to improve the enabling framework conditions for renewable energy and energy efficiency.


Cameroon's energy balance shows a clear predominance of renewable energy sources, particularly hydroelectric. Access to power in urban areas is greater than in most low-, middle-, and resource-rich countries in Africa, but in rural areas only 14% of people benefits from access to electricity. With regard to this issue, Cameroon’s Rural Electrification Master Plan (PDER) concerns the electrification of about 660 localities through the extension of the interconnected grids and the construction of isolated systems.

The policy goals of the government are to ensure energy independence through increased production and delivery of electricity, of oil and gas (petroleum resources) and to ensure their contribution to economic development.


Senegal experienced rapid electricity demand (expecially in the residential sector) increase in the past decade due to economic growth. This high-power demand, coupled with high dependence of the country on expensive imported fuel (in the absence of significant local modern energy resources), have led the electricity transmission sector, favouring the development of off-grid technologies.

The potential for efficiency in the off-grid sector is also recognised by the government, and programs have been put in place as part of the current rural electrification program to improve lighting efficiency in rural households.

Burkina Faso

Due to system transmission and distribution losses of over 60%, only about 18% of the population has access to electricity (about 40% in urban areas and 3% in rural areas). With household energy needs predominantly being met with traditional biomass fuels (fuel wood), the potential for efficiency in the residential sector is high.

Up to now, there are no policies or strategic directions for the utilisation of renewable energy. However, a guiding principle for PV was outlined in a program to supply basic energy services. Adopted in 2007, the Strategy for Rural Electrification supports solar energy for the electrification of rural areas currently lacking connection to the public electric utility SONABEL grid.


Benin relies on energy imports and produces just a little percentage of its national energy requirements.  Important differences in access to electricity remain between urban and rural populations. Whereas 53% of urban dwellers have access to electricity, only 2% of rural residents do.

Few activities have been initiated by the Government of Benin to address energy efficiency challenges. On the supply side, ongoing activities include the retrofitting of existing power plants, investment in power generation plants, and the enhancement of the distribution network and equipment.


The Ethiopian power sector is over dependant on hydropower. The country needs to diversify its energy sector and keep looking for other energy sources such as solar because its extreme hydropower dependence may leave its power sector vulnerable to drought.

To avoid the poverty of energy that limits economic activities, the ethiopian government has ambitious goals to quadruple the size of its plant stack by 2020.


A drop of demand growth and increasing installed capacity (expecially geothermal) have created a generation oversupply, resulting in difficulties in developing utility scale projects (wind and solar).

As utility-scale projects face a lengthy planning process, developers have started to target captive generation projects (solar up to 1 MWp), and several programmes to expand distribution lines and reach remote villages, have started.


Uganda has just over 900 MW of power-generation capacity, but the share of renewable energy is expected to grow with feed-in-tariff supported projects to be commissioned by 2018.

However challenges remain to bring these projects online, as grid capacity is constrained. Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa, remaining at 15% in 2015. Under the Strategy and Plan covering 2013-22, the Rural Electrification Agency aims to increase rural electrification rate to 26%.

South Africa

The South African economy is extremely energy intensive compared to international standards and consumes a large portion of the electricity produced in the country, almost all from coal-fired power stations.

To meet the growing peak demand that is not offset by sufficient available electricity, renewable energy roadmaps have been projected for electricity generation from wind, CSP and PV.

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