Solar & Off-Grid Conference To Explore Business Opportunities In W. Africa

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Renewable energy is expected by 2040 to account for 45 percent of power generation capacity across Africa, and West Africa wants a piece of that business.

On and off-grid market opportunities in the region will be explored April 21-22 in Accra, Ghana, at the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa Conference.

Key stakeholders in the international solar community are expected to attend.

Worldwide investment in renewables totaled $270.2 billion in 2014, and nearly half — $ 131.3 billion — was in developing countries, WashingtonPost reported. That included investments of more than $1 billion each in South Africa and Kenya.

The first Solar & Off-Grid Renewables Africa conference, held in Kenya, was a sellout, according to SolarMedia, a publishing and events business that serves the global solar energy supply chain.

At this year’s conference, investors, policy makers, developers, energy companies, financiers, NGOs, manufacturers and suppliers are expected to come and hear 45 international experts speak about how much money can be made in renewables. There will be in-depth discussions, networking opportunities and deals will get done, SolarMedia said in a prepared statement.

Attendees expected at the conference include the International Finance Corporation, the International Renewable Energy Agency, Trina Solar, S&C Electric, ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, First Solar, World Energy Council, African Renewable Energy Alliance and African Development Bank Group. Attendees at the conference can select streams covering large small- and pico-scale solar projects.

“The potential for solar energy in West Africa is significant,” said Mahama Kappiah, executive director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, in a prepared statement. “There are opportunities to adopt small-scale, large-scale, grid and off-grid solar power systems considering the region’s solar resources. In addition, electricity demand is on the increase as income and socio-economic conditions improve across the region. Solar energy can diversify the current energy mix and help to meet this demand.”

The conference aims to accelerate the deployment of solar in West Africa and break down the barriers to development, whether they are financial, political, or technological, according to SolarMedia.

West Africa has numerous solar projects in the pipeline and government incentives to encourage solar in the energy mix.

These include a 30-megawatt, $90.17 million photovoltaic power station planned near the capital of Burkina Faso; Nzema Solar PV Park in Awaso, Ghana, a 155-megawatt project expected to become one of the biggest solar plants in the world; Tenergie Senegal PV Projects at three locations in Senegal with a combined PV capacity of 50 megawatts; and a 41-megawatt PV facility with two plants in Mali, according to TheClimateGroup.org.

The World Bank Group announced the launch of its Scaling Solar project in January with the goal of increasing the supply of energy for millions of Africans. That will be a topic of discussion at the conference.

The Access Co-Development Fund recently launched by Access Infra Africa is another big topic at the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa Conference. The fund’s goal is to deploy $5 million USD to co-develop up to five power projects, SolarMedia reports. Karim Megherbi from Access Energy will attend tod discuss this new project.

For information on the conference, contact Celine Gonthier, marketing manager, at +44(0) 207 871 0123, or email her cgonthier@solarmedia.co.uk.