Promoting private investment on standalone solar systems in West Africa and Sahel

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy efficiency (ECREEE) organized a national workshop on private investment on standalone solar systems in West Africa and Sahel, in Abidjan. The aforementioned workshop is in the framework of the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP), implemented by ECREEE with the financial support of the World Bank.

The West Africa and Sahel regions are characterized by having one of the world´s lowest rates of energy, where approximately 60% of the inhabitants lacks access. This is an indicator that a lot has to be done, in order to gradually foster electricity access to the population, especially for those far from the grid, taking into consideration that it requires a lot of financial investment to provide grid-connected electricity.

It is against this background that the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, with the support of the World Bank, is implementing the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project, aiming at enhancing electricity access in West Africa and Sahel regions, through standalone solar systems promotion (solar lanterns, solar home systems, solar water pumps, solar mills, solar sewing machines, etc.). This is a viable and sustainable way to provide electricity to the population not connected to the grid. With this actions the project will contribute to achieve the targets of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy to provide universal access to electricity by 2030.

Private sector has a significant role to play in order to achieve the targets thus, this national workshop was organized and directed to them with the main objective to propose a sensitization meeting and information sharing about ROGEP with the national actors. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the status of standalone solar systems, public lighting and electrification of public institutions, the opportunities and challenges to successfully implement electricity projects, the institutional and regulatory framework related to standalone solar systems and the identification technical assistance needs.

It was a very relevant workshop to Côte d´Ivoire, especially because the country has embarked on private investments on off-grid solar markets, including one to provide solar energy access to 1 million households by 2025. Investments from the private sector in coordination with public sector initiatives are important so that the country advances towards a sustainable future.

Similar workshops are planned to take place in the coming months for the 19 countries covered by the project, enabling the ECREEE to have a full understanding of the situation and consequently addressing key issues and taking necessary steps, ensuring a successful implementation of the project.