Category: Africa

–Sachi DeCou, whose company provides solar charging kiosks throughout Tanzania. Her firm is among many “solar-preneurs” working to provide energy to the 621 million Africans who lack electricity access. While renewable energy has already grown swiftly in the Middle East and North Africa, Tanzania is now one of several East African nations experiencing a boost in solar energy development. VIA FROST ILLUSTRATED

Solar projects awarded in the Middle East and North Africa last year increased ten-fold over the year prior, according to the Middle East Solar Industry Association. In 2015, more than 1,500 megawatts worth of solar will be tendered to meet rising electricity demands in the region. Morocco is on track to have 42% of its energy from renewables by 2020, with 2,000 MW from solar. Egypt is aiming for 2.3 gigawatts of solar by 2017. VIA GE

Bloomberg reports that in South Africa, the fifth-biggest producer of coal, solar and renewable power are gaining fast and helping the government ease blackouts. Starting with virtually no utility-scale solar a few years ago, South Africa now has more than 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity and will procure over 6,000 megawatts of renewables as part of the biggest surge in power capacity since the 1980s. Meanwhile, two coal-burning power plants now costing $17 billion are over budget and more than…

—Tonny Okello Japser, a resident of Olil village in Kole district, Uganda. Japser opened a salon in 2010 to augment his income from farming, but quickly realized it was costly to operate his new business using a petroleum-powered generator. In 2013, he invested in a solar panel instead. Now, customers flock to his salon for haircuts and also tap into his solar energy to charge their cellphones. His two jobs, amplified by savings from going solar, allow him to comfortably…

— Senegalese-American hip hop artist Akon, whose Akon Lighting Africa initiative has provided solar street lamps, micro-generators, charging stations, and home kits to rural villages in 14 African countries. In Guinea Conakry, the company is employing 5,000 people to install solar systems. ALA plans to expand to all African countries by 2020. VIA AWAKEN and WALL STREET JOURNAL (Photo: DAGENCY)

— Lungela Vongu, a resident of Cookhouse in South Africa, on the large wind project there that provides electricity to local villages. With wind energy from new projects roughly half the cost of new coal, low cost is driving rapid renewables expansion in the country. In fact, a coal company is soon to break ground on a $300m wind energy project in the Eastern Cape. “On the continent, there really is the opportunity to leapfrog the old centralised large scale…