At the present rate of development, 670 million people would be deprived of electricity by 2030
The new World Bank report states that Solar mini grids could provide exceptional uninterrupted electricity to approximately half a billion people in unpowered or underserved communities and be a bare minimum cost solution to end the energy disparity by 2030. However, to realize the maximal potential of solar mini grid opportunities, overcome financing barriers, and continue to operate costs down.
Over 733 million people mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa even now require access to electricity. The pace of electrification has reduced in recent times, due to the obstacles in reaching the remotest and most susceptible populations, in addition to the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the present rate of development, 670 million people would be deprived of electricity by 2030.
Riccardo Puliti, Infrastructure Vice President at the World Bank said that the solar mini grids are a fundamental resolution for concluding the energy access disparity. The World Bank has been scaling up its assistance to mini grids as a portion of aiding countries to build complete electrification systems. Along with USD 1.4 billion through 30 countries, their commitments to mini grids symbolize about one-quarter of the total investment in mini grids by the private and public sectors in their client nations.
Puliti added that a number of measures are essential, such as devising financing solutions adapted to mini grid project risk summaries and incorporating mini grids into national electrification strategies to carry out mini grids full potential to connect half a billion people by 2030.
In 2018, The deployment of solar mini grids witnessed a significant increase in rate from about 50 in each country each year to over 180 solar mini grids in each country for a year till date, specifically in nations with the lowest costs of access to electricity. This is the consequence of tumbling costs of vital elements, the outline of innovative digital solutions, a substantial and growing unit of extremely efficient mini grid developers, and expanding economies of scale.
Solar mini grids benefits
Solar mini grids have become the minimum amount approach to bring in excellent round the clock electricity to cities and towns out-of-the-way or undergoing frequent power cuts. The cost of electricity produced by solar mini grids has collapsed from USD 0.55/kilowatt in 2018 to USD 0.38/kilowatt till date. Latest solar mini grids today offer sufficient electricity for transformative electric appliances such as welders, milling machines, refrigerators or e-vehicles. Mini grid operators can operate their systems distantly, and paidsmart meters enable customers to pay while they utilize the electricity. Combining 490 million people to solar mini grids would prevent 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Further acceleration is needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 7. Operating 490 million people by 2030 would need the creation of over 217,000 mini grids at a cumulative cost of USD 127 billion. At current pace, no more than 44,800 new mini grids serving 80 million people would be constructed by 2030 at a total investment cost of USD 37 billion.
‘Mini Grids for Half a Billion people: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers’, is a new book produced by the World bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). The book is the most authoritative and comprehensive publication on mini grid. ‘Mini Grids for Half a Billion people: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers’ identifies the five main market drivers that provide the mini grid sector a track to achieve its full potential and universal electrification.
Decreasing the cost of electricity from solar hybrid mini grids to $0.20/kWh by 2030 helps in providing electricity for more than half a billion people at a rate of just $10 per month. The book also talks about providing the best quality service to customers and communities by providing electricity for more than 2 million appliances and machines and for countless schools and clinics. The book provides insight on the establishment of a mini grid business environment in areas where there is a deficit in power access through adaptive regulations and helpful policies.