Off-grid solar has saved $5bn in energy spending since 2010, finds World Bank Group, GOGLA report

Lighting Global, the World Bank Group’s platform to support sustainable growth in the off-grid solar market, and GOGLA, the industry association representing the off-grid solar market, has reported that off-grid solar installations have helped reduce energy bills by $5 billion since 2010.

This statistic was the headline take from the latest Global Off-Grid Solar Semi-Annual Market Report, which including performance data from 65 businesses from January to June 2017.

Although there was a 7% overall drop in worldwide sales of off-grid solar products between the period covering July to December 2016, the market is still thriving. According to the international Energy Agency (IEA), the sector needs to continue growing if it is to meet universal energy access targets by 2030, or in other words, powering an additional 195 million people.

There remain some difficult barriers to overcome.

The report outlined several market drivers that have played a significant role in influencing off-grid growth. They include East Africa’s drought, the continued effects of demonetization in India, and increased commodification in smaller product categories. Despite these factors, the market is growing as companies venture into new territories, introduce new financing methods and form government partnerships that enable further market penetration.

“Today’s report shows that companies working in the off-grid lighting and electrification sector operate in difficult and often unpredictable market conditions,” explained Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA. “As the association representing the sector, we see an increasingly urgent need to work with governments, investors, and other stakeholders to accelerate the development of the off-grid sector. With the right partnerships and a supportive policy environment in place this sector can thrive, and deliver on its role to help meet the 2030 universal energy access target.”