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Solar mini-grids could power 500 million people by 2030, if action is taken now

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  Solar mini grids can provide high quality uninterrupted electricity to nearly half a billion people in unpowered or underserved communities and be a lower cost solution to closing the energy access gap by 2030 But to harness the full potential of Solar mini grids governments and industry must work together to systematically identify mini grid opportunities continue to drive down costs and overcome barriers to financing says a new World Bank report Some 733 million people the majority in sub Saharan Africa still lack access to electricity The pace of electrification has slowed in recent years due to difficulties in reaching the most remote and vulnerable populations as well as the devastating effects of the COVID 19 pandemic At the current rate of progress 670 million people they will remain without electricity by 2030 Now more than ever mini solar grids are a central solution to closing the energy access gap said Riccardo Puliti vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank The World Bank has been expanding its support for mini grids as part of helping countries develop comprehensive electrification programs At 1 4 billion in 30 countries our mini grid commitments represent approximately a quarter of total investment in mini grids by the public and private sectors in our client countries To harness the full potential of mini grids to connect 500 million people by 2030 several actions are needed such as incorporating mini grids into national electrification plans and designing financing solutions tailored to the risk profiles of electricity projects mininets Solar mini grid deployment has seen a significant acceleration from around 50 per country per year in 2018 to more than 150 per country per year today particularly in countries with the lowest rates of electricity access This is the result of falling costs of key components the introduction of new digital solutions a large and expanding cohort of highly capable mini grid developers and growing economies of scale Solar mini grids have become the cheapest way to bring high quality electricity 24 7 to towns and cities that are off grid or experience regular power outages The cost of electricity generated by solar mini grids has dropped from 0 55 kWh in 2018 to 0 38 kWh today Modern solar mini grids now provide enough electricity for life changing appliances such as refrigerators welders milling machines or electric vehicles Mini grid operators can remotely manage their systems and pay as you go smart meters allow customers to pay as they use electricity Connecting 490 million people to mini solar grids would prevent 1 2 billion tons of CO2 emissions However further acceleration is needed to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 SDG 7 Feeding 490 million people by 2030 will require the construction of more than 217 000 mini grids at a cumulative cost of 127 billion At the current rate only 44 800 new mini grids will be built by 2030 serving 80 million people at a total investment cost of 37 billion Produced by the World Bank s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program ESMAP the new book Mini Grids for Half a Billion people Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers identifies five market drivers to set the mini grid sector on a trajectory to achieve full market potential and universal electrification Reduce the cost of electricity from solar hybrid mini grids to 0 20 kWh by 2030 putting life changing energy in the hands 500 million people for just 10 per month Increase the pace of deployment to 2 000 mini grids per country per year by building portfolios of modern mini grids rather than one off projects Deliver superior service to customers and communities by providing reliable electricity for 3 million income generating appliances and machines and 200 000 schools and clinics Leveraging development partners Government financing and investment to attract private sector financing raising 127 billion in cumulative investment from all key sectors for mini grids by 2030 Establish enabling mini grid business environments in key access deficit countries through light and adaptable regulations supportive policies and reductions in bureaucracy The handbook is the World Bank s most comprehensive and authoritative publication on mini grids to date
Solar mini-grids could power 500 million people by 2030, if action is taken now

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World Bank

Solar mini-grids can provide high-quality, uninterrupted electricity to nearly half a billion people in unpowered or underserved communities and be a lower-cost solution to closing the energy access gap by 2030.

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But to harness the full potential of Solar mini-grids, governments and industry must work together to systematically identify mini-grid opportunities, continue to drive down costs and overcome barriers to financing, says a new World Bank report.

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Some 733 million people, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa, still lack access to electricity.

The pace of electrification has slowed in recent years, due to difficulties in reaching the most remote and vulnerable populations, as well as the devastating effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.

At the current rate of progress, 670 million people they will remain without electricity by 2030.

“Now more than ever, mini-solar grids are a central solution to closing the energy access gap,” said Riccardo Puliti, vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank. “The World Bank has been expanding its support for mini-grids as part of helping countries develop comprehensive electrification programs.

At $1.4 billion in 30 countries, our mini-grid commitments represent approximately a quarter of total investment in mini-grids by the public and private sectors in our client countries.

To harness the full potential of mini-grids to connect 500 million people by 2030, several actions are needed, such as incorporating mini-grids into national electrification plans and designing financing solutions tailored to the risk profiles of electricity projects.

mininets”.

Solar mini-grid deployment has seen a significant acceleration, from around 50 per country per year in 2018 to more than 150 per country per year today, particularly in countries with the lowest rates of electricity access.

This is the result of falling costs of key components, the introduction of new digital solutions, a large and expanding cohort of highly capable mini-grid developers, and growing economies of scale.

Solar mini-grids have become the cheapest way to bring high-quality electricity 24/7 to towns and cities that are off-grid or experience regular power outages.

The cost of electricity generated by solar mini-grids has dropped from $0.55/kWh in 2018 to $0.38/kWh today.

Modern solar mini-grids now provide enough electricity for life-changing appliances such as refrigerators, welders, milling machines, or electric vehicles.

Mini-grid operators can remotely manage their systems, and pay-as-you-go smart meters allow customers to pay as they use electricity.

Connecting 490 million people to mini solar grids would prevent 1.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions.

However, further acceleration is needed to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7).

Feeding 490 million people by 2030 will require the construction of more than 217,000 mini-grids at a cumulative cost of $127 billion.

At the current rate, only 44,800 new mini-grids will be built by 2030, serving 80 million people, at a total investment cost of $37 billion.

Produced by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the new book, Mini Grids for Half a Billion people: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers, identifies five market drivers to set the mini-grid sector on a trajectory to achieve full market potential and universal electrification: Reduce the cost of electricity from solar hybrid mini-grids to $0.20/kWh by 2030, putting life-changing energy in the hands 500 million people for just $10 per month Increase the pace of deployment to 2,000 mini-grids per country per year, by building portfolios of modern mini-grids rather than one-off projects Deliver superior service to customers and communities by providing reliable electricity for 3 million income-generating appliances and machines and 200,000 schools and clinics Leveraging development partners Government financing and investment to “attract” private sector financing, raising $127 billion in cumulative investment from all key sectors for mini-grids by 2030.

Establish enabling mini-grid business environments in key access deficit countries through light and adaptable regulations, supportive policies and reductions in bureaucracy.

The handbook is the World Bank’s most comprehensive and authoritative publication on mini-grids to date.

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