The off-grid solar sector has returned to robust growth, reversing a brief dip in sales that was mostly due to localized shocks, according to a new report released by the World Bank Group's Lighting Global program and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA). For more information please see the IDTechEx report on off grid zero-emission electricity
The latest Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report shows that during the second half of 2017, participating companies reported sales of 4.14 million off-grid solar products - a jump of 18 percent compared to the first half of the year.
This generated $115 million in cash revenues for the sector, up 20 percent on the previous six months. For the first time, the report also captured the amount of solar capacity installed by participating companies: 22 megawatts between July and December 2017.
Russell Sturm, the Global Head of Energy Access at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, says clean, affordable off-grid energy solutions are delivering crucial private sector growth in emerging economies.
"Innovation and investment are catalyzing a revolution in energy access", said Sturm. "Recent findings suggest that the market will grow by around 25 percent year-on-year, providing improved energy access to 740 million people by 2022. That's a very powerful prospect."
The quality of off-grid products has also improved. The report shows that since the start of 2016 alone products sold have become, in aggregate, 43 percent brighter. This enhances security while also providing students with the opportunity to study at night, or for workers to engage in income generating activities.
The number of people accessing larger systems - which can power multiple lights or appliances such as radios, fans and televisions - has also grown. Today, over two million people have access to Tier 2 energy services through off-grid solar products: 350,000 more than in the same period of 2016.
The latest edition in this series of semi-annual sales reports uses data provided by 67 GOGLA members and companies whose products meet Lighting Global quality standards. These companies represent an estimated 30 per cent of the total off-grid solar market, and have sold 34.8 million off-grid solar lighting and energy products since 2010.
Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA, says methods for collecting and reporting off-grid data are being continually improved, and this latest report enables businesses to benefit from even greater market intelligence.
"With each iteration of the report series, we fine-tune our methodology," said Peters. "We're continually improving the nuances and quality of the data to make keener observations of changes to the market which underpin and influence our dynamic industry's development. This latest report supports investors, companies, and development partners engaged in the sector with valuable insights to spur further development of the market."
Top image: Mr Solar