The future of solar energy in Ethiopia
By Abdulhamid Mohammed
The clean energy transition is an opportunity for many African countries to bypass traditional fuels and infrastructure and go straight to building sustainable energy systems, but they will need the support of the international community, especially to attract the necessary investments.
Ethiopia is emerging as a role model of energy development for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The lessons from Ethiopia’s experience will be of great value as others attempt similar feats.
Though much work remains to be done, Ethiopia’s underlying advantages, political will, financing and support from the World Bank and other partners, and the innovative solutions the country is now putting in place, all point the way to success.
Today a few numbers from the rural population have access to electricity grid. This share is increasing due to an extension of the national grid on the one hand, and an increasing number of Stand-alone-systems and Mini-grids on the other hand.
The country has intended to construct 125 MW solar power plants, which are the Scaling Solar Gad Phase Ⅰ in the Somali region and the Scaling Solar Dicheto Phase Ⅰ in the Afar region However, until the recent times country’s use of PV for meeting off-grid power needs was confined to projects funded by donors that use PV based technologies (distance-education radios and vaccine fridges) in remote rural areas.
Thus, for rural households those needs low electricity consumption, off-grid solar solutions should be prioritized by the government as an immediate solution for un-electrified rural households that are far from electric grid and not covered by the densification program in the short term.
It is important to mention the pioneering projects in this field that are supported by the Abu Dhabi future energy Company that will develop 300MW solar energy in the first phase of the project in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE, provides strategic support to Ethiopia and African people, especially in the field of energy and entrepreneurship projects .
Many African countries are currently exploring the use of solar and other renewable energy, with Ethiopia being a strong market for Solar industry and is currently focusing on developing the same.
The Government is also being very supportive by allowing solar products to enter the country duty free. Solar Africa in Ethiopia will be held concurrently with Power and Energy Africa from 19 – 21 January 2023 .
The region offers tremendous opportunities to suppliers worldwide, having among the strongest solar resources in the world. In particular, the region offers excellent potential for concentrated solar power (CSP) and concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems.