Deploying Solar Solutions
To date, 1775 communities electrified bringing together 7 000 000 people across the african continent
More than 65% of Africans still live in rural areas today, far from basic facilities and essential services such as health, education and communication technologies. There are different ways to approach this issue: either, you consider that the best way forward is to encourage migrations towards African cities and the coastal areas, which can become a problem when one observes increase in informal settlements in cities such as Lagos, Accra or Abidjan, in a context of increased climate risks. Or you can decide to bring economic opportunities inside the African rural areas, to enable communities to thrive where they are in a truly inclusive growth logic. This approach has guided Solektra, which considers that development is primarily conditioned by access to clean energy that can in turn be leveraged to offer new services.
We can speak about solutions with a ‘s’ because Solektra operates through a 360 approach. From a technical perspective, the choice was made to promote solar solutions, the cost of which, as a consequence of the lowering of the panel production price, fell by 72% between 2009 and 2017. The company has been proposing a portfolio of products ranging from solar streetlights to mini solar charging stations and HSH (solar home system). On the financial side, Solektra mobilized a network of leading partners to design innovative solutions, combining bank guarantees and suppliers credit, in order to propose to states pre-financing and ‘ex post’ payment options. On the economic and social level, and in order to ensure the sustainability of each installed solar project, the company launched the Solektra Solar Academy to train the new generation of solar installers and maintenance operators.
The results and next steps
To date, 1775 localities have been electrified and positively impacted by Solektra, in more than 15 countries across the continent – which represents 7 000 000 of people considering that each of these localities brings together, whether in a single village or across scattered settlements, 4000 inhabitants. The solar academy of Bamako has organized more than 20 training sessions since its launch. The next step is to structure a large-scale offer combining access to energy, internet access and tailored services for the people – as part of the global alliance for Smart Cities and Villages in Africa GASCA), of which Solektra is a founding member.