Nowhere in the world is off-grid solar finding a more suitable home than Africa, where huge areas of the continent lack access to electricity. A number of companies have been developing the market in East Africa, but now Senegal is getting in on the act, as non-profit organization Solar Village Project begins developing off-grid arrays for seven Senegalese villages.
Solar Village Project is an organization that is installing solar arrays in Senegal and India, to provide electricity to areas that previously had no access to it. Its most recent undertaking is for the installation of off-grid solar systems in seven Senegalese villages in the Sahel and Littoral regions.
The villages in question, with a combined population of almost 3,000, currently have no access to electricity. Once the off-grid arrays are installed, they will provide the village with access to vital electrical appliances, such as lighting, mobile phone chargers, and radios.
The organization is currenting undertaking a crowdfunding campaign to generate some extra finance for the projects, which, once in place, will see Solar Village Project install the systems over a two-week period in early 2017. In it the second major project that the organization will have undertaken in Senegal, and it hopes that it will have learnt some vital lessons from the first installation.
The lessons learned from our initial project in the Cisse Masse village will undoubtedly guide us during this second round of projects, said Solar Village Project Director and founder Joe Kselman. The Cisse Masse project demonstrated that the same approach we have used in India, distributing individual solar power systems to every home, works in Senegal too.
Off-grid flourishing in Africa
The off-grid market is thriving in Africa as of late, where huge swaths of the population can benefit from off-grid solar solutions to provide affordable and reliable electricity in areas that have no access to electricity.
Last month, a particularly encouraging report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) highlighted huge levels of investment in the off-grid solar industry in East Africa. In fact, with USD 139.8 million invested in off-grid solutions in East Africa during 2015, the region made up approximately 50% of the total investment made in off-grid solar globally over the course of the entire year. There is no reason that this success cannot be replicated in Western African nations like Senegal, where the need for affordable and reliable electricity is just as great.