Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7) calls for ensuring and accelerating access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. Globally, one in five people still lack access to modern electricity, a situation that persists in sub-Saharan Africa.
In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 600 million people currently have no access to electricity and will not get electricity sooner than 2025 due to high costs of grid connection and unreliable supply of electricity. With a steady increase in population, there will be an increased demand for alternative sources of lighting and other household use. To solve the challenge of limited access to electricity, there is need to invest in off-grid renewable energy solutions.
Why off-grid renewable energy solutions?
• It is cost effective compared to other energy sources
• Technologies are adaptable and scalable for the different energy needs at household level.
• Private sector’s innovations in delivery and financing models e.g. pay-as-you-go (PAYG).
• It is environmentally sustainable due to the use of solar as the main source of energy.
According to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) 2019, off-grid renewable energy solutions, including stand-alone systems have emerged as a mainstream, cost-competitive option to expand access to electricity, providing a viable electrification solution that is rapidly scalable, environmentally sustainable, can be tailored to local conditions and, importantly, has the potential to empower rural communities, especially for youth and women. This provides us with a justification to invest in private sector to deliver on.
AECF REACT Household Solar (HS) Programme
Since 2012, the deployment of stand-alone solar systems has witnessed tremendous progress as technology costs have plummeted, innovation in deployment and financing models has picked up, and a more diverse set of stakeholders, including local entrepreneurs, the international private sector and financing institutions, have become engaged in the sector.
REACT HS Programme seeks to address a critical component of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) Africa Clean Energy (ACE) Programme. It aims to increase access to clean, affordable energy for low-income people in Africa by promoting a market-based approach for private sector delivery of solar home system products and services in the target countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The solar home systems are stand-alone photovoltaic systems that offer a cost-effective mode of supplying clean renewable energy for lighting, appliances and cooking, to remote off-grid households for better wellbeing and livelihood opportunities for rural poor people. The programme is in two phases;
REACT HS Round 1: With a commitment of USD 10 million (GBPs 8 million), the competition was launched in May 2017 and has funded 10 companies operating in four countries: Zambia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Implementation phase is ongoing.
REACT HS Round 2: With a commitment of USD 20.8 million (GBPs 16 million), the competition will be launched in quarter two 2019. This round will target companies in Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and Somalia.