Providing Energy Access through Off-Grid Solar: Guidance for Governments

Jan 28, 2019

Source/author : GOGLA

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1.1 Faster Progress is Needed to Achieve Universal Energy Access by 2030

Over the last decade, the scale and importance of the energy access challenge has been fully recognized for the first time. SEforALL paved the way for the establishment of SDG 7 in 2015, with the target of ensuring ‘universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030’. It is increasingly recognized that energy has a vital role to play in contributing to other SDGs, with former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon describing energy as the ‘golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability.

The world is not currently on-track to achieve universal energy access by 2030, with remote and rural areas lagging behind and progressing slowly. From 2014 to 2016, household electricity access rose 0.83% per year, below the 0.9% needed to achieve universal energy access by 2030 . According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), if access deficit countries do not accelerate progress, 674 million will still be without access to electricity by 2030 (Figure 1)

In Sub-Saharan Africa, electrification rates are now starting to keep pace with population growth. From 2014 to 2016, the population grew by 26 million, and energy access grew by 37 million, resulting in a net gain in electricity access for 11 million people . However, a further 43% of the population or 566.8 million people are still without access to electricity in the region. In Central Asia and Southern Asia, 57 million people gained electricity access from 2014 to 2016, outpacing population growth of 24 million over the same period and leading to a net gain of 33 million .

In line with GOGLA’s mandate as the voice of the offgrid solar energy sector, this guide focuses on the role of off-grid solar products and services in helping to deliver universal energy access, and the steps governments can take to promote these solutions. As such, it does not cover other important energy access issues such as access to clean cooking, electrification through grid extension or mini-grids, which fall outside of GOGLA’s scope.

Figure 1: Energy access growth rate (per year) and rate needed to meet 2030 target
- Source: Tracking SDG7: the Energy Progress Report, 2018

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