How ‘productive use of electricity’ can unlock economic potential across Africa


PUE has been the buzzword of the African solar industry for the past two years, as it allows for the use of electricity to empower people living in rural areas to increase their income. For a decade, rural electrification focused mainly on providing access to lighting and basic entertainment services through solar home systems (SHS) and minigrids, which are essential but do not provide economic empowerment.

PUE solutions come in various forms, but their main purpose is to provide the user with more cash in hand. PUE can lead to reduced costs, increased revenues, or both. The fishing industry is an excellent example, where solar freezers reduce fish loss and increase the quality of the fish, resulting in a better price for the fishermen.

PUE solutions can be applied to many sectors, such as agriculture, commercial and small industrial activities, public infrastructure, and health services. They can also be applied to various situations, including off-grid locations, minigrids, and grid-connected locations. At AFSIA, we focus exclusively on solar-based PUE solutions.

Our most popular solutions include solar irrigation and solar cooling. Solar irrigation offers a fantastic business case for the end user, as it allows year-round cultivation, increases the yield per acre significantly, and reduces total cost of ownership up to 90% compared to diesel-powered irrigation. Solar cooling, comprising fridges, freezers, and cold rooms, reduces post-harvest loss, increases bargaining power for farmers, and is the ideal companion for solar irrigation.

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AFSIA will unveil its first “PUE Catalog” in an online event on May 4, which aims to identify all available solar-based PUE solutions, list the companies distributing these solutions, and share business case specifics for each solution. This catalog will help more solar stakeholders become aware of the potential of PUE to unlock economic activity and improve livelihoods in Africa.

AFSIA will hold a webinar on PUEs on May 4, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. (CET). Register at:

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