The Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar sector currently accounts for 75% of power demand in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, due to the unreliable nature of energy supply from the grid, consumers under this segment have been forced to invest in alternative sources of energy, which they consider to be more reliable and less expensive, such as the use of captive solar solutions.
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Since their introduction midway through the last decade, half cut cells have grown to become an industry standard technology adopted by virtually every module manufacturer. And as we see larger formats and other innovations that require cells to be cut into three or more pieces, the trend is only set to grow further; and this places the processes used to cut the cells at the heart of PV manufacturing. In this pv magazine Webinar we’ll take a closer look at the innovative thermal laser separation developed by 3D-Micromac, comparing this to the traditional ‘scribe and break’ processes still widely used in PV manufacturing, and taking a look at Voltec Solar’s production line in France where the TLS tool is in operation.
A Carbon Tracker report estimates 60% of the world’s technical solar potential – enough to produce 3.5 exawatt-hours of clean electricity per year – would already be cheaper than fossil fuel if installed. Of the remainder, most would be in sub-Saharan Africa, a region which has the potential to be a global solar and wind powerhouse.
With investors often put off by a lack of supportive policy for renewables on the continent, the exceptions made to attract money to its economic trade zones might also prove more friendly to clean power infrastructure spending.
The $18bn worth of sustainable finance instruments floated in the nation last year marked a retreat from previous highs but, with most of the bonds issued from July onwards, the recovery is under way, according to the IFC, which is anticipating a more-than-$100 billion sector in emerging markets over the next three years.