Solar panels

The World Bank and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) have released a new report analysing trends within the off-grid solar energy market.

The off-grid solar sector has grown by 30 per cent each year since 2017. Annual market revenue has increased from $1.5bn in 2012 to $1.75bn in 2017, according to the 2020 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends report.

In addition, the market is now able to provide lighting and other energy services to 420 million users.

To date, more than 180 million off-grid solar units have been sold worldwide.

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The off-grid solar industry has made tremendous strides in the past decade and is set to record a solid growth curve.

With 840 million people still lacking access to electricity, the growth of the off-grid solar industry is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7) for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

An additional $11bn in financing is needed to expand the market by 13 per cent to achieve SDG7 goals.

Up to $7.7bn in external investment to companies and up to $3.4bn of public funding is also required to bridge the affordability gap.

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Off-grid solar companies are moving into new geographies and underserved markets as established markets become more saturated

Riccardo Puliti, global director, Energy and Extractive Industries and Regional Director, Infrastructure, Africa, at the World Bank, said: “We are scaling up our support to client countries by helping them leverage this potential through innovative and financially sustainable solutions,”

 “Only by crowding in commercial finance at scale can we reach the target of achieving universal access by 2030,” said Paulo de Bolle, Senior Director, Global Financial Institutions Group for IFC. “We are eager to work with our local bank partners in the more mature off-grid markets where commercial debt can drive the next stage of market growth.” Itron, Grid4C embed AI-powered analytics into utility smart meters.