Solar increasing economic activity in East African households

Credit: Zola Electric / GOGLA

The majority of households with PV systems in East Africa have reported an increase in economic activity in the first three months of using the solar power, according to a new report from GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry.

The findings have been deemed a huge opportunity for governments of developing nations, who want to increase jobs and businesses.

The report, ‘Powering Opportunity: The Economic Impact of Off-grid Solar’, showed that, along with the 58% claiming an increase in enterprise, another 36% of homes with PV systems generate more money, creating an additional US$35 per month on average. A further 44% are also able to spend more time working by using lighting at night.

The research, funded by The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and conducted by Altai Consulting, was based on data collected from over 2,300 small-scale Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar owners in Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in Spring 2018.

More than 10% of respondents have started a new business, and 7% reported getting a new job.

Meanwhile, more than 90% of households are replacing toxic kerosene lamps with solar and lighting. 94% of households report that their SHS has improved their quality of life and 96% would recommend it to friends or family, due to having cleaner air, improved safety and more study time.

Koen Peters, executive director of GOGLA said: “GOGLA’s new report shows that the net economic and social benefits off-grid solar are a huge opportunity for national governments of the developing world. Governments tell us they are interested in jobs and economic impact. As this report shows, off-grid solar is directly delivering such impacts and significantly. We call on policymakers, treasury and energy departments to work together with off-grid companies, banks and institutions to break down barriers to off-grid solar and build a pathway to accelerate energy access.”

Development bank-led programmes are also helping large-scale solar to flourish in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

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