September 22 (SeeNews) - It has never been "more possible, and less expensive" for Africa to build solar power capacity, as the installed cost for utility-scale parks has fallen to as low as USD 1.30 (EUR 1.16) per watt, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says in a new report.
Since 2012, utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) costs on the continent have decreased by 61% and IRENA Director-General Adnan Z Amin says further declines of up to 59% are possible in the next 10 years.
Amin points out that when compared to Germany, solar irradiation levels in Africa are up to 117% higher.
Leaving utility-scale projects aside, the installed costs of stand-alone solar PV mini-grids in Africa have shrunk to USD 1.90/W for systems bigger than 200 kW. Meanwhile, solar home systems can meet a household’s power needs for as little as USD 56/year, IRENA says, which is below the rates charged for poor quality energy services.
Over 800 MW of solar PV capacity has been installed in Africa in 2014, followed by 750 MW in 2015. IRENA says that with the right enabling policies, Africa could top 70 GW of solar capacity by 2030.
(USD 1 = EUR 0.894)