West Africa’s Solar Market Surges with Nigeria Leading Sales

Dominates Off-grid Market, Enhancing Sustainable Energy Access Locally

by Adenike Adeodun

Over recent years, West Africa has seen a significant surge in the sales of off-grid solar products, with Nigeria emerging as the dominant player in the market. This dominance is underscored by data from the second half of 2022, which shows that 82% of the total units sold in the region were in Nigeria, pointing to a robust and growing market for renewable energy solutions in the country.

The sales of key appliances like TVs, fans, refrigeration units, and solar water pumps, while experiencing a slight decline of 5% from the first half of the year, were still 14% higher than in the same period the previous year. This growth signifies a steady consumer demand and the increasing integration of solar energy solutions into everyday life.

The Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report by GOGLA highlights that West Africa now accounts for 64% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s key appliance sales, surpassing East Africa in total volume. This shift is largely attributed to West Africa’s more dynamic fan market, which saw a 9% increase in sales in the latter half of 2023, with 92% of these sales bundled with power systems, typically solar home systems.

In Nigeria, the dominance in the fan market is particularly evident. With a total of 72,514 pedestal fans and 86,062 table fans sold, and no ceiling fan sales reported, Nigeria’s market specificities paint a picture of consumer preferences and market trends that are shaping the region’s energy landscape.

The Nigerian Electrification Program (NEP), supported by a $75 million results-based financing facility, played a pivotal role in boosting solar energy kit sales in what was a largely untapped market between 2019 and 2022. Despite some operational challenges with the fund, the NEP has laid a solid foundation for future growth and stability in the solar market.

Looking at broader regional trends, Benin saw a 7% increase in solar energy kit sales in the second half of 2023, with most sales conducted through PAYGo systems. However, appliance sales in Benin experienced a 14% decrease compared to the first half of the year. In Burkina Faso, despite a 36% decrease in solar kit sales in the latter half of 2023, there was still a significant year-on-year increase compared to 2022.

Côte d’Ivoire reported a 25% decrease in sales, with a notable decline in solar home systems. Meanwhile, Liberia saw a 38% decrease in solar kit sales but reported a 44% increase in appliance sales compared to the first half of 2023.

Senegal faced the most dramatic decline, with an 82% decrease from the first half of the year and a 15% decrease year-on-year, marking the lowest sales ever reported for the country in this period. In Togo, solar energy kit sales decreased by 6% compared to the first half of the year and were down 14% from the same period in 2022.

Supportive initiatives across the region, such as the Productive Use Appliance Financing Facility (PUAFF) and local interventions like Senegal’s agricultural bank’s climate funding line and USAID’s grant funding for renewable energy use, continue to bolster the market. These efforts are crucial in overcoming the infrastructural and financial challenges that hinder the broader adoption of solar technology.

Togo’s CIZO program, particularly its innovative subsidy schemes for solar water pumps and PAYGo solar home systems, has been instrumental in promoting sustainable energy access across rural areas. By the end of June 2023, the program had facilitated the distribution of over 130,000 solar energy kits, proving the effectiveness of targeted subsidies in expanding energy access.

While challenges remain, the resilience and adaptability of the off-grid solar market in West Africa are evident. As the region continues to embrace renewable energy, driven by consumer demand and supportive policies, the future looks bright for sustainable development and energy independence in West Africa.

Source: ESI Africa

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