Micro-Grid Solutions in Africa

Micro-grid and off-grid home solar systems are being rapidly deployed in Africa where power utilities have failed to keep up with demand. Many Africans are still without electricity or still struggling to access electricity especially in rural communities. The only solution to this is by introducing micro-grid energy.

While South Africa has the highest electricity consumption in the sub-Sahara region, the demand continues to outpace the installation of generation capacity. Africa is rich in renewable energy sources which remain the most economical approach for powering micro-grids. However, the development of micro-grids faces several barriers that must be unpacked.

Chief Executive Officer, Jay Naidoo, explained that energy poverty is a universal issue and that it affects the rural areas too far from the main grid and too expensive to electrify by extending the main grid. 

“Micro-grids are emerging as an effective off-grid solution that can close the energy poverty gap and can supplement the existing electrification program,” said Naidoo.

Naidoo added that further research and development is needed for the micro-grids of the communities.  

When these micro-grids are combined with batteries/generators or other grid systems, they can produce or provide an affordable source of power.

“Unfortunately, the continent is trailing behind most others with regards to energy security, bringing about an increase in awareness to provide energy to the millions of African people without it. The most common challenge the African energy sector continues to face is funding for energy projects,” Naidoo continued.

Many African countries have seen rapid and meaningful economic growth in the last decade, and to ensure the sustainability of this growth, these economies rely heavily on accessible, affordable and efficient energy. Urgent investment and research are required into the scalability of microgrids in rural and highly people dense areas to help prevent mass power outages such as the ongoing load shedding that has become a permanent occurrence in the South African power landscape.

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