Off-Grid solar industry grows into a $1.75 billion annual market, new report shows

The 2020 edition of the  Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report  published by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) shows the off-grid solar industry has grown into a $1.75 billion annual market, providing lighting and other energy services to 420 million users and remains on a solid growth curve.

The report finds that the industry has made tremendous strides in the past decade. Since 2017, revenues from the off-grid solar industry continue to rapidly grow, increasing by 30 percent annually. To date, more than 180 million off-grid solar units have been sold worldwide and the sector saw $1.5 billion in investments since 2012.

With 840 million people still lacking access to electricity, the growth of the off-grid solar industry is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7) for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

Riccardo Puliti, Global Director of Energy and Extractive Industries and Regional Director, Infrastructure, Africa, at the World Bank said:

“The off-grid solar industry is instrumental for achieving universal electricity access. We are scaling up our support to client countries by helping them leverage this potential through innovative and financially sustainable solutions.”

According to the report, the sector would need an additional boost of up to $11 billion in financing. More specifically, the sector would need to grow at an accelerated rate of 13 percent, with up to $7.7 billion in external investment to companies and up to $3.4 billion of public funding to bridge the affordability gap.

Paulo de Bolle, Sr Director, Global Financial Institutions Group for IFC said:

“Only by crowding in commercial finance at scale can we reach the target of achieving universal access by 2030. We are eager to work with our local bank partners in the more mature off-grid markets where commercial debt can drive the next stage of market growth.”

Trends demonstrate that companies are moving into new geographies and underserved markets as established markets become more saturated. These companies are also shifting towards larger, higher-margin solar home system sales in response to growing consumer demand for appliances and back-up systems.

Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA said:

“This report is another confirmation of the significant impact off-grid solar has already achieved, and the massive opportunity that remains going forward. The Market Trends Report shares details on where we stand, and where we should be heading next.”

The 2020 edition of the Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report is the sixth in a series of biennial reports that was launched in 2010, with the aim of measuring the pulse of the off- grid solar market.  The report summary was released  at the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo held from February 17 to February 20 in Nairobi, Kenya. The full report will be available in March, 2020.

Source: Press Release by GOGLA.