September 22, 2022

World Bank, Solar Sector Players Plan on Increasing Off-grid Access

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Norah Kipwola, a Senior Energy Specialist at World Bank Rwanda

Rwanda will next month host the 7th edition of the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo (GOGSFE), expected to convene in Kigali, Rwanda from 18th to 20th October 2022, and will attract over 800 delegates from 50 countries.

The Forum will be co-hosted by Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure in collaboration with the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program and the industry Global Association for the Off-grid Solar Energy (GOGLA).

Annick Muhama, the Director General in charge of energy in the Ministry of infrastructure says that Rwanda was chosen to host the forum due to its continued efforts and being a champion in supporting Universal electrification plan.

“Rwanda anticipates seeing increased productive use of off-grid solar energy as a driver of social economic growth, which will in return contribute to achievement of national strategy for transformation (NST1) targets as well as Sustainable development goals,” Muhama said.

Commenting on the expected outcome of the off-grid forum, the ministry official underscored the forum’s importance for networking among industry players to ensure universal access to energy is achieved.

“This important forum will increase networking between off-grid solar industry members and key stakeholders and investors which will therefore facilitate more involvement of off–grid solar industry in the journey of universal access to electricity for all,” Muhama said.

Annick Muhama, the Mininfra Director General for Energy

Rwanda has made tremendous progress in achieving the National agenda, and the national goal is to reach 100% access to electricity by all households by 2024; this target is achievable with all grid and off-grid electrification solutions.

World Bank Pledge:

• Between July 2015- June 2022, World Bank programs which include off-grid solar (OGS), have been approved in more than ¾ of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
• Including technical assistance, the total amount committed by the World Bank to accelerate the adoption of OGS worldwide since July 2015 is over $2 billion.
• Of that, $1,782,000,000 was committed in Africa and $72m was committed in Rwanda.
• As of December 2021, 55.06 million off-grid solar products meeting Lighting Global / VeraSol Quality Standards had been sold worldwide.
• Of those 53.98m were sold in low and middle income countries and 32.04m were sold in Africa.
• In December 2021, 58.87m people world-wide were meeting their basic energy needs with products meeting Lighting Global / VeraSol Quality Standards. Of those 42.63m were in Africa.

Norah Kipwola, a Senior Energy Specialist at World Bank Rwanda said the bank will continue to partner with the Government in universal access through the lighting global program in order to finance the electrification agenda.

“The World Bank has initiated a five-year program where over 760 thousand people were connected using global energy fund and we will continue supporting private sector and other stakeholders in order to increase off-grid consumers’’ said the World Bank specialist.

Patrick Tonui, the Head of Policy & Regional Strategy at GOGLA said the forum is a premier meeting of the off-grid solar sector, hence providing a unique platform for knowledge exchange, networking and showcasing off-grid solar products and services.

Patrick Tonui, Head of Policy and Regional Strategy at GOGLA

The event aims to accelerate the development of the global off-grid solar market contributing to achieving universal energy access by 2030.

“As part of our deepening collaboration with governments and development partners, this year we are expanding our focus to relevant neighbouring sectors and are thinking more broadly as to how off-grid solar can contribute to household needs,” Tonui said.

Beyond energy access, GOGLA will champion one of the world’s most innovative and impactful sectors where hundreds of millions of people already benefit from affordable, high-quality, clean off-grid solar products and services.

“With the right support, our pioneering industry will be able to scale up rapidly to improve the lives of 1 billion people by 2030,” said Tonui.

To date, small solar home systems (SHSs), sold through a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) model, have dominated the off-grid sector; which is very similar to other markets in the region.

However, according to results from the 5th Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey (EICV5), the survey shows that 75 percent of off-grid households spent less than $1.67 per month on lighting and telephone charging.

This constraint has been recognized by the government and current efforts show there are plans to work with development partners to design a subsidy.

The previous Off-Grid form was held in 2020 in Nairobi and attracted over 1,250 participants from 75 countries, 80 exhibitors and over 80 government officials.

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