World Bank: Solar microgrids could power 5 billion people by 2030

Seetao 2022-09-29 15:09
  • Only 44,800 new mini-grids to serve 80 million people will be built by the end of the decade at a total cost of $37 billion
  • Powering 490 million people by 2030 will require building more than 217,000 microgrids at a cumulative cost of $127 billion
Read this article
7 Minutes

Solar microgrids have the potential to meet the electricity needs of nearly 5 billion people in unpowered or underserved regions of the world, and represent a cost-effective solution to bridging the energy access gap by 2030. However, the World Bank said in its latest report that governments and industry must work together to realize their full potential by identifying opportunities for microgrids, reducing costs and overcoming barriers to financing.

The World Bank has been expanding support for microgrids to help countries develop comprehensive electrification plans. Modern solar microgrids now provide enough power to power appliances such as refrigerators, welders, milling machines or electric cars. However, some 733 million people still lack access to electricity, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. The pace of electrification has slowed in recent years due to headwinds driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and difficulties reaching vulnerable people in remote areas.

The World Bank estimates that at the current pace of progress, 670 million people will be without electricity by 2030. Now more than ever, solar microgrids are a central solution to bridging the energy access gap, said Riccardo Puliti, vice president of infrastructure at the World Bank. With $1.4 billion in funding in 30 countries, our commitment to microgrids represents approximately a quarter of the total public and private sector investment in microgrids in our client countries. Africa is facing a growing electricity supply gap due to a lack of government resources and private sector project financing. Half of the people on the continent have no power. West Africa, in particular, has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world. According to World Bank data, only about 42% of the total population and 8% of rural residents have access to electricity.

Mr. Priti said that to connect 5 billion people by 2030, several actions would be needed, such as including mini-grids in the national electrification plan and developing financing solutions tailored to the risk profile of mini-grid projects.

Solar microgrids have become the cheapest option for powering off-grid towns or towns that experience frequent power outages. Currently, the cost of generating electricity from solar microgrids has dropped from $0.55 per kWh in 2018 to $0.38 per kWh. Keywords: engineering news, overseas news

However, by 2030, the World Bank said the cost of electricity for solar-hybrid microgrids would need to drop further to $0.20 per kilowatt-hour to allow people to get electricity for as little as $10 a month. The deployment of solar microgrids has accelerated from about 50 per country per year in 2018 to about 150 per year. However, the pace of deployment needs to increase to 2,000 microgrids per country per year to bridge the electricity access gap. Accelerating the deployment of solar microgrids will also help reduce carbon emissions. The World Bank estimates that connecting 490 million people to these grids will help eliminate about 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.Editor/XingWentao