Although most African countries currently rely heavily on fossil fuels and generators to generate electricity, governments and stakeholders are beginning to invest more in renewable energy. Compared with other renewable energy segments, the proportion of startups operating in the solar energy sector in Africa is the highest. According to the surveys made by SolarLAZA, about 95% of the renewable energy industry startups operating in Africa are operating in the solar sector.
On the one hand, this is mainly because Africa’s average solar radiance is the highest among all continents, and some African countries claim to have 4,300 hours of annual sunshine, which provides a huge opportunity for solar photovoltaic systems and concentrated solar applications. According to some reports, about 49% of the world’s solar energy is concentrated in Africa; on the other hand, solar systems can adapt to a variety of networking projects, as well as off-grid projects, mainly because of the distributed nature of solar energy. Off-grid solar projects have made it possible to provide electricity to people in remote villages with low energy consumption levels. In contrast, large-scale development of wind and biomass is very challenging, which is why these power industries has not done so until now.
In addition, although solar energy is readily available in many African countries, energy sources such as water are difficult to obtain in some African countries. Due to problems such as drought and irregular rainfall, Africa’s electricity production is also facing a downward trend. The construction of large-scale power projects such as hydropower stations may also bring environmental challenges. But this is not the case with solar energy. Even if there is not enough sunlight, there is a way to store energy from the sun.
Another factor driving the growth of solar startups is the continued decline in solar equipment prices. The main factor driving the price decline is the increase in quantity, and solar equipment manufacturers see an increase in demand, which increases the number of equipment they produce resulting in falling cost of solar energy. The gradual improvement of technology and production methods in solar cell and solar panel have greatly promoted the rapid decline in the price of solar equipment.