solar rollout
Image: Rural Electrification Agency.

European renewable energy developer Statkraft is partnering with the international development charity SolarAid to address energy poverty through solar power in sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years.

Statkraft will give $2.7 million in cash and equipment in that time to support SolarAid’s work. The donations will go towards providing clean, safe and simple solar lighting in an effort to ensure that by 2030 all homes, schools and clinics have energy access in the region.

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According to Statkraft, 548 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are currently living in energy poverty. The International Energy Agency, in a worse case theory painted in their Stated Policies Scenario, expects that number to increase to 630 million by 2030 because of the economic slowdowns precipitated across Africa by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The donation made to SolarAid follows Statkraft acquiring Solarcentury, a renewable energy company and founder of SolarAid. The donation also forms part of the efforts by Statkraft to support progress to reach SDG7 to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and to combat climate change.

The solar revolution is already happening

John Keane, Solar Aid CEO, said: “While grid electrification is not going to reach most of rural sub-Saharan Africa in our lifetimes, the solar light revolution is taking place right now, helping light up millions of homes, which would otherwise be kept in the dark. Together we can end the darkness.”

The money and equipment will target regions or households that are currently relying on expensive, dangerous and toxic lighting sources such as candles and kerosene. Health care facilities will be able to benefit from the donation with healthcare workers being able to conduct life-threatening procedures in light and store vaccines such as those for COVID-19 in solar-powered fridges for safe administering.

Christian Rynning-Tønnesen Statkraft CEO, said solar power is a simple and cost-effective solution for those who have no choice but to rely on kerosene or candles: “We are delighted to be working with a charity with such a critical mission. This partnership was sparked with the acquisition of Solarcentury in 2020 and we are happy to work with SolarAid to help ensure access to modern energy for all.”