30 April 2013 – South Africa’s department of energy says that the country has increased access to electricity to include 84% of households in 2012, compared with 36% of households in 1994. Over 5.6 million households have received access to electricity under a government run integrated national electrification programme. Despite its successes to date, this programme still has to cover three million households that do not have a formal supply of electricity.

To meet this challenge the South African government has engaged in a new plan called the households electrification strategy, which was completed at the beginning of 2013 in consultation with stakeholders. This new strategy indicates that at least 10% of newly electrified houses, equal to 300,000 households, will be supplied by non-grid technology such as solar PV systems. Under the current electrification programme about 52,000 households have already been electrified by means of solar PV systems and it is estimated that universal access will be achieved by 2025/6.

Efforts are also underway on a Southern African Development Community electrification roadmap which is being led by Eskom and Duke Energy. The goal of the roadmap is to accelerate the achievement of universal access to electricity by 2030 through country-based public-private partnerships that get local markets to work and help global low-cost technologies (supply and demand) to scale. The roadmap targets some 35 to 40 million connections in southern Africa. This concept has been termed the electrification roadmap initiative.