Strong collaboration between public and private actors is key to catalysing more capital towards energy access
The Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference, co-organized by Solarplaza and GOGLA with the support of the Uganda Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, wrapped up two full days of exploring how to shape Africa’s solar energy future.
The event saw over 400 international and local attendees, including private sector, investors, policymakers and development partners participate in a program that included over 100 panelists and 22 sessions. Participants from household solar, productive use, mini-grid, C&I, utility-scale, and the e-mobility sector were present, showcasing the breadth and depth of disruptive solar tech transforming the continent.
Annual investment in solar across sub-Saharan Africa totalled $25bn in the last decade, according to a presentation from IRENA. The market needs to grow 8x to reach universal electricity access among households. The investment opportunity is significantly higher if the full range of solar potential is to be realised, fulfilling demand for businesses, farmers and public services.
There is thus an urgent need to bridge the investment gap in low-income countries to ensure a just energy transition. Action from public sector and development partners is urgently required to unlock finance and investment through, e.g. integrated energy planning, smart subsidies, local debt financing.
The leading multi-lateral development banks and development finance institutions shared their ambitions and activities to scale the sector, with blended finance and public-private partnerships high on the agenda. Government officials from more than 20 countries were present to discuss how the policy and regulatory environment can be more conducive to finance and investment.
- Distributed Access Renewable Energy Scale-Up (DARES) from the World Bank to build on learnings and double the pace of energy access expansion
- Renewable Energy Access Challenge (REACH) partnership dedicated to accelerating clean energy access in the hardest to serve areas across sub-Saharan Africa
- Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development launched a Pay-as-you-go roadmap, a productive use of solar energy (PUSE) roadmap and Get Access Minigrid project room
- Market Institution Facility from Shell Foundation and Open Capital Advisors, a multi-donor initiative for market building through core funding, expert support and peer learning
- Factor E’s New Venture Studio (DELTA 40) aimed at investing in Africa’s Top Entrepreneurs.
- The Green Gensets Facility (GGF) to provide working capital to local businesses to distribute 130.000 solar gensets