Off-Grid Solar Leads To An Increase In Light Sales In Africa

Posted on : Tuesday , 4th June 2024

A new survey highlights the growing popularity of off-grid solar lights in Africa, as more people choose cleaner lighting solutions.


The analysis is based on sales data supplied by 32 solar energy kit manufacturers and 34 appliance manufacturers in the second half of 2023.


The Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, a worldwide association for the off-grid solar energy business, publishes 'Global Off-Grid Solar Market Data July-December 2023'.


According to James Nzioka, a sustainable energy researcher at the University of Eldoret in Kenya, the trend demonstrates the growing importance of off-grid solar power in tackling last-mile electrification concerns across the continent.


"Millions of people across Africa still lack access to the grid," Nzioka said in a phone interview.


"But with off-grid solar, even the most remote villages can light up their homes using energy alternatives that are clean, efficient and affordable." 


The paper examines the increased number of light sales in four African regions: East, West, Central and Southern Africa.


The authors of the paper also mention a shift from rent-to-own (PAYGo) to cash sales. Nzioka credits this transition to lower solar kit prices and a growing middle class with disposable income.


In Kenya, for example, an increase in cash sales of lights resulted in a 22% increase in cash sales for all kits and appliances in the country when compared to the first half of the year. In comparison, sales using the PAYGo option increased by 5%.


However, Nzioka stated that the shift to cash transactions is not harming the PAYGo model's survival.


"PAYGo is still very relevant on the continent and will continue to influence off-grid solar growth in the region," he stated.


In East Africa, where over 2.5 million solar energy kits have been sold between July and December 2023, light sales reached by 17% over the first half.


Lights with minimal energy requirements, ranging from 0-1.5 Wp (watt peak capacity), saw the greatest increase in sales.


Kenya was East Africa's largest market for off-grid solar energy kits, accounting for 74% of regional sales.


In West Africa, sales of low-energy lights grew 18% compared to the first half of 2023, indicating a similar upward trend in this category.


Cash sales, like those in East Africa, have been continuously increasing, with all solar energy kits up 15%. The PAYGo category, on the other hand, declined by 1%.


Nigeria is the largest off-grid solar energy kit market in West Africa, accounting for 82% of total regional sales.


Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the dominant markets in Central Africa for off-grid solar energy kits.


In the southern African region, where confidentiality regulations prevent country-by-country monitoring, kit sales increased by 62%, with the majority of purchases made in cash, according to the report.


"Cash sales, led by lights, increased by 78 per cent compared to the two previous half years," said the report.

Source :




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