Publication - Demand-Side Subsidies in Off -Grid Solar: A tool for achieving universal energy access and sustainable markets
Hundreds of millions remain unelectrified in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region represents the largests access gap, with 548 million unelectrified people as of 2018. Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to 20 countries with the lowest energy access rates. Some countries have massive energy access deficits to overcome, with 218 million people remaining without access in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia alone.
Off-grid solar (OGS) has emerged as a viable way to provide clean and modern access to energy. Since 2010, innovations in technology and business models, coupled with significant private and public investments, have improved electricity access for 420 million users. Of these, at least 231 million users have access to Tier 1 energy access and above based on the Multi-Tier Framework for Measuring Energy Access (MTF). Tier 1 access is the universally accepted minimum level of electrification needed for energy access under SDG 7. With this level of access households increase productivity, with upto 22 percent of households generating additional income using OGS products in a business and 44 percent of households working longer hours. The sector now supports an estimated 110,000 full-time equivalent jobs in East, West, and Central Africa. OGS also provides other socioeconomic benefits, with 84 percent of households noting that children study longer, while 90 percent of households feel healthier and safer by replacing kerosene with OGS products.