China-Africa linkage in solar energy technologies hailed
ADDIS ABABA. – Experts and policymakers have commended the existing linkage between China and Africa in the use of solar energy technologies.
Speaking in an interview recently, Ajay Mathur, director general of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), underscored China’s involvement and huge potential in terms of realising Africa’s quest for solar energy development.
“There is the greatest linkage that exists between the Chinese manufacturers of solar energy technology and the African users of that technology,” Mathur said.
Highlighting that the global experience in the development of solar mini-grids is limited, Mathur called on international companies to focus on off-grid photovoltaic power station projects in Africa so that people living in rural and remote areas of the continent would get light.
“China is the largest supplier of solar energy equipment across the world and in Africa in particular,” said the director general, noting that many solar panels and batteries being used in Africa are of Chinese origin.
According to the director general, the African region is blessed with unlimited potential for renewable energy, including abundant solar energy.
Mathur, however, said despite high technological potential in Africa and the pressing need for accelerated adoption of solar systems, there has not been a uniform deployment due to financial constraints and inappropriateness of technologies being used in the continent.
“We are working towards mobilising US$1 trillion of investment for a massive deployment of solar energy technologies and expanding solar markets in the continent,”
The ISA is facilitating diverse solutions including solar water pumps and solar parks, and creating mechanisms for blended finance.
The ISA held its 4th Regional Committee Meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in late August, bringing together African energy ministers to discuss ways of bringing long-term solutions to energy shortages in Africa using solar energy resources.
Ethiopian State Minister of Energy Sultan Wali said there are 25 solar energy projects being undertaken by China Electric Power Equipment & Technology in different parts of Ethiopia with funding obtained from the World Bank.
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Energy, Chinese companies have undertaken off-grid photovoltaic (PV) power station projects in the country’s Somali and Gambella regional states, eventually helping thousands of people get access to electricity.
“The involvement of China in renewable energy development in Ethiopia is very large. Ethiopia is making use of Chinese technology and manpower to develop its renewable energy resources” Wali said.
The 4th Regional Committee Meeting featured a discussion with the private sector focusing on manufacturing, electric mobility based on solar, mini-grids, solar pumps, and other productive use applications.
The meeting highlighted that with the right interventions, planned approach, and support of the leadership, Africa can move toward providing electricity to 600 million people while supporting economic growth, jobs, and a safe and healthy environment in the region. ‑ Xinhua