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Africa expected to get 100GW of solar power by 2030

On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., 70,000 solar panels are part of a solar photovoltaic array that will generate 15 megawatts of solar power for the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay)

A Norwegian solar power company, REC (Renewable Energy Corporation), is planning to enter the African renewable energy market on the back of expectations that Africa will see 100GW of solar power being generated by 2030, according to a press statement.

The company will focus on ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), Eastern Africa and Southern Africa, bringing high-efficiency solar panels, kit solutions and solar hybrid boxes to bear on those markets.

Africa is ripe for this expansion says Luc Graré, senior vice president EMEA at REC, “Africa’s greatest growth challenge is energy, and there’s a serious need to quickly get additional generation capacity in place to meet increasing energy demands.”

With 600 million Africans still not connected to any sort of electricity grid, and South Africa’s own supply under immense pressure, Graré’s words couldn’t be more true.

Currently, the total nameplate capacity of all electricity generation from all sources on the entire continent sits at just 143GW, of which South Africa provides 45GW according to statistics gathered from the US’s Energy Information Administration. Somehow, Nigeria manages to maintain its incredible economy off the back of single digit capacity.

Those stats only go up to 2012 so South Africa’s contribution could well be more by now, but since we’re currently being loadshedded like it’s 2008, probably not.

In addition to opening three offices on the continent in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa sometime this year, REC’s activities will include a training facility called the REC Academy that aims to train distributors, who will in turn train locals to become “solar professionals”.

REC will be at the South African Solar Expo that’s happening in 2016.

[Image – Wikimedia Commons]

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