off-grid solar
Solar panels over a village on Mageta Island in Kenya. Source TFE Africa

Leading off-grid solar energy companies, governments, development partners, and investors this week agreed to further grow the off-grid solar market.

The renewed commitment will accelerate progress towards universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy by 2030.

More than 1,250 participants from 75 countries attending this year’s Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo (GOGSFE) in Nairobi called for more collaboration and investments to provide sustainable energy for the 840 million people currently living without electricity and an estimated 1 billion people who live with weak grid connections.

This year’s event was co-hosted by the Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Energy and was officially opened by H.E. The President of the Republic of Kenya Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta.

In his keynote speech, President Kenyatta said his government’s off-grid solar access initiative, the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP), which is carried out with support from the World Bank, seeks to provide energy to underserved households and more than 800 public facilities, including schools and health centres, in 14 counties.

“To achieve our electrification programme through off-grid solutions, my administration recognises the importance of partnering with the private sector,” the President said.

GOGLA’s executive director, Koen Peters, said: “It was a privilege to listen to President Kenyatta’s inspiring speech, encouraging other countries to follow Kenya’s lead in adopting the right policies to scale the off-grid solar market.”

He continued: “The massive turnout of this year’s Forum is a testament to the impressive growth of the sector. The new partnerships and deals forged this week will help the industry reach millions of additional households.”

Over 85 exhibitors showcased their products and services at the event, highlighting off-grid solar as a powerful tool to reduce CO2 emissions, improve health and education, create jobs and income opportunities, helping consumers save money and improving their quality of life.

The conference dialogue was built around the findings of the 2020 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report, released at the outset of the meeting. A joint Lighting Global-GOGLA initiative, the report finds that the industry has grown to a $1.75 billion market, currently serving 420 million customers.

“It is exciting to see the power of entrepreneurial innovation that has driven these accomplishments,” said Russell Sturm, Energy Access Lead for the International Finance Corporation, and one of the lead authors of the report.

“With 12 years of experience supporting the market’s rapid ascent, our Lighting Global team will continue working toward the growth of the off-grid solar industry, as we mobilize the commercial finance critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7) for universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030,” he said.

About the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum & Expo

The Global Off-Grid Solar Forum & Expo is the world’s leading meeting of the sector. It is an initiative of the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry – GOGLA and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program, with support from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). Find out more at www.offgridsolarforum.org.

About GOGLA

GOGLA is the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry. Established in 2012, GOGLA now represents over 175 members as a neutral, independent, not-for-profit industry association. Its mission is to help its members build sustainable markets, delivering quality, affordable products and services to as many households, businesses and communities as possible across the developing world.

The products and solutions that GOGLA members sell transform lives. They improve health and education, create jobs and income opportunities and help consumers save money. To find out more, go to www.gogla.org.

About Lighting Global

Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s initiative to rapidly increase access to off-grid solar energy for the 840 million people living without grid electricity world-wide. Lighting Global – managed by IFC and the World Bank – works with manufacturers, distributors, governments, and other development partners to build and grow the modern off-grid solar energy market.

Lighting Global programs are funded with support from the Energy Sector Management Assistant Program (ESMAP), The Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land, and Sea (IMELS), and the IKEA Foundation. To find out more, go to www.lightingglobal.org.