Off Grid Solar power has emerged as a true solution to the rural electrification challenge of Africa and is now the cheapest source of electricity for more than one-third of it’s population; a figure that will continue to rise as solar prices plummet.
According to recent reports published, rural African families with a single solar light save more than $60 a year; spending just 2% of their household income on lighting. Whereas families without solar spend around 10% of their income to provide just 4 hours of light at night using kerosene lamps, torches or candles.
Families who have made the switch from kerosene to solar lighting are greener. Reducing their annual household emissions by as much as 555kg carbon dioxide equivalent annually.
Additionally, the reports by ODI, Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), Practical Action and SolarAid, indicate a series of health benefits from switching to solar including a decrease in respiratory issues, burns and kerosene poisonings. Off grid solar is also improving health services with better lighting and reliable refrigeration of vaccines and other medical supplies.
The improved quality and quantity of lighting provided by off grid solar is also creating additional income opportunities by increasing the time available for productive work.
Solar is becoming a significant employer on the continent – up to 15,000 new jobs have been created in sub-Saharan Africa through the distribution of off-grid lighting alone.
Children’s educational prospects are also being enhanced. Where a family acquires a solar light, children increased their study time on average from 1.7 to 3.2 hours each night.
The reports, prepared for the Department for International Development in support of preparations for the Energy Africa campaign, can be viewed in full here.
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