Publication - Stand-Alone Solar Businesses in Zambia: A Guide for Venture Developers and Investors

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Stand-Alone Solar Businesses in Zambia: A Guide for Venture Developers and Investors
Africa EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme
Rahul Barua, Matt Woods et al (Carbon Africa)
Published in
July 2018
With a welcoming investment climate, a reputation for political stability, and a deepening national power crisis, Zambia is emerging as an attractive destination for entrepreneurs, venture developers, and investors seeking to launch commercially viable energy access businesses. This RECP Renewable Energy Developer Guide describes the potential for developing an Off-Grid Solar (OGS) business in Zambia. The Guide describes the country and market context, the opportunity for off-grid solar home solutions, and reviews regulatory and operational considerations for developers and investors preparing an investment opportunity.

The key takeaways are as follows:

» Given a national electrification rate of 28% and more than 2 million off-grid households, there is a tremendous market opportunity for off-grid solar solutions. The market opportunity is estimated at more than EUR 210 million per annum.

» The commercialization of off-grid solar solutions follows light-handed regulation, as Solar Portable Lights (SPLs) and Solar Home Systems (SHSs) are treated as consumer goods.

» Public finance is prioritizing growth in Zambia’s Off-Grid Solar (OGS) sector, catalysing the development of existing ventures and new market entrants.

» Incoming developers and investors should be prepared to adapt business models to accommodate low population densities, an underdeveloped mobile money ecosystem, a developing regulatory regime, and a rapidly changing competitive landscape.