The Advantages Of Solar Power – Worth It For Africa?

More than half the world’s population who live without reliable electricity sources, is in Africa. With the global shift towards alternative energy, is it Africa’s time to shine?

 No-one can deny that Africa is particularly blessed with sunshine. The bulk of the continent lies in the tropics, with direct sunlight throughout the year. But even Nigeria, the largest country in Africa by population and GDP, suffers from massive power shortages. And solar in South Africa is still in the developing stages compared to the West.

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Solar power is an obvious solution for such sunny countries with a vast need for more power. But is solar energy, generated by photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and other technology, a cost-effective option?

Most people think that solar is not affordable to the average person. Think again! Get an obligation-free quote today!

Here we will have an in-depth look at the costs of coal-powered electricity compared to solar power.

Cost of small-scale solar energy

The standard way to measure electricity production is by megawatt-hour. The cost of producing one megawatt-hour of electricity from coal is $102 in the USA. The cost of production from solar panel installations is around $50 – less than half!

If average householders can have access to affordable electricity for basic functions such as lighting and water heating, there is an opportunity for greatly improving quality of life.

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Cost of large-scale solar energy

The cost of solar power production on a large scale is rapidly falling all over the world. Not only is it becoming cheaper to produce energy from solar energy plants, it is also easier to maintain and run solar power installations.

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African leaders are realising that solar power is the energy solution of the future. With the discussions at the Forum on China-Africa Co-Operation (FOCAC) and the commitment to invest in renewable energy programmes, we can expect to see more large-scale solar power plants powering the continent in the near future.

Long-term investment in solar power systems

If you’re looking at investing in solar power, it’s best to look at costs over a period of twenty years. While the initial installation costs can seem expensive, think of your current electricity bills, and the threat of major tariff hikes in the next few years.

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Statistics show that switching to Solar means that most people would most likely start making a return on investment within 5 years. After twenty years they would be making substantial electricity savings.

Environmental impact of solar power

As with any manufacturing process, pollution is formed. The production of solar panels produces tetrachloride and toxins. However, as it’s a fairly new industry, solar panel production plants are very tightly controlled so as not to lose credibility with consumers and government bodies alike.

Most people are familiar with the impact of coal mining, and the use of coal as fuel, on the environment. Not only is coal dangerous and destructive, but the supply of coal is failing to rise with the demand.

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This situation is known as the looming coal cliff. Many experts believe that fossil fuel will run out within the next 50 years. Other options for electricity supply are of paramount importance, especially in developing countries.

What are the advantages of Solar in Africa?

The production and installation costs of solar panel systems are offset in a short time by the savings in power costs. Reduction of carbon emissions is also very important for the future of electricity production, and the environment as a whole.

Smaller solar power installations are will create big returns on investment for the average householder in developing countries.  As the technology improves and production becomes easier, the cost of solar installations for water heating and running appliances for the average individual householder are more and more within reach.

Then there’s the question of job creation. Nearly 10 million people worldwide were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2016. This is double the number of people than were employed in building and maintaining solar power plants in 2010 – and the numbers keep rising.

It can no longer be denied that Solar Energy is becoming ever more important on the African continent. Leaders and citizens alike need to make the shift to solar!

GET QUOTEThink you can't afford to go solar? Think again, you can save over 50% on your energy bill. Get an obligation-free quote today!