Off-Grid Solar Solutions Making Big Impact on African Households: Report

Responses collected from 2,343 customers discuss various benefits due to solar home systems


In its latest report, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), in association with Altai Consulting, has highlighted the impact and the benefits of off-grid solar home systems (SHS) in improving the quality of life.

The report titled ‘Powering Opportunity: “The Economic Impact of Off-grid Solar,” sheds light on how SHS can be a great way for the governments of various developing nations to create ample employment opportunities.

The sample for research was collected from 2,343 solar home system customers located in urban, suburban, and rural regions of Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Off-Grid Solar Solutions Making Big Impact on African Households: Report

According to the research, over 90 percent of households that replaced toxic kerosene lamps with solar alternatives report that they had experienced improvements in both health and feelings of safety.

Access to light and power has increased the working hours as they can spend more time at work. It has allowed 44 percent of users to be more flexible with their daily activities. These extra work hours have helped in making on average an additional $25 per month.

Off-grid solar has also created new job opportunities. In 7% of households the SHS had allowed a member to get a new job, with 69% of these households reporting an immediate rise in income. On average, customers who have been able to get work earn an additional $28 per month

Adoption of SHS by shops, stalls, bars or restaurants has seen an improvement in business revenue as well. 11% of customers started a new business after getting the SHS, with one of the most common being ‘phone charging.” However, the biggest returns are seen in retail shops, which have increased their revenue by an average of $36 per month, according to the report.

Off-Grid Solar Solutions Making Big Impact on African Households: Report

It has also improved the study time for children. 84 percent of households with children report that they now have more time to do their homework.

In April 2018, GOGLA’s earlier report cited that during the second half of 2017, companies selling off-grid solar products reported sales worth $115 million from 4.14 million products sold worldwide, installing around 22 MW of solar panels. Sales volume jumped by 18 percent compared to the first half of the year.

In another report published by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program, Dalberg Advisors, and GOGLA, in January 2018 it was observed that approximately 130 million off-grid solar products have been sold globally since 2010 in more than 100 countries.

Another report titled ‘Off-grid Renewable Energy Solutions, Global and Regional Status and Trends’ was released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). It highlights that creating off-grid solutions to existing energy delivery services can unlock substantial socio-economic benefits and contribute to multiple sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“Renewables are a central pillar of SDG 7 and represent one of the most effective and economical means available in the pursuit of universal energy access,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, Deputy-Director of Knowledge Policy and Finance at IRENA.

The report cites the example of Bangladesh, in which approximately 133,000 jobs have been created through a Solar Home System program. In Rwanda, an off-grid renewables initiative aims to generate 7,000 jobs.

Image credit: Greenlight Planet