Schneider describes the new solar microgrid as a product that overcomes the challenges of traditional solar installations, such as tying up land use for 20 years, creating long order-to-activation cycles, and requiring on-site construction crews and high upfront capital.

Some of the biggest solar power-focused businesses on the continent say some bumps remain on the way to large-scale deployment of solar power either as an alternative to or complement of existing national power grids.

Energy democracy means that everybody is ensured access to sufficient energy. This concept aims to make community residents innovators, planners and decision-makers on how to create and use energy that is local and renewable.

Experts say the technology, more commonly associated with cryptocurrencies, could hold the key to transforming a traditional energy system based on centralized power plants to one powered by a multitude of volatile, diffusely scattered renewable installations.

In Africa, investments in the green energy sector offer potentially attractive returns, although RE investors face a number of challenges. Some of the main obstacles are uncertain or inadequate policy and regulatory frameworks, underdeveloped capital markets, insufficient effective demand, and a lack of managerial and technical capacity.

Energy 4 Impact, in partnership with the OVO Foundation, is piloting a novel approach to upgrading education and health care services in remote Kenyan communities. Standard sized solar PV systems are being installed, with an ongoing maintenance contract in place to guarantee the supply of power.

A World Economic Forum study has revealed a plateau in the transition of energy markets; Asia ranks poorly in an index that measures the shift to sustainable energy systems.

Working with local partners, EDF also aims to develop a portfolio of 1.2 million off-grid customers in Africa by 2035, equipping them with solar panels and individual battery systems.

Orange SA plans to distribute as many as 20,000 solar kits in four African countries in partnership with U.K.-based renewable-energy firm BBOXX as an increasing number of companies seek to roll out off-grid solar power on the continent.

Orange already provides a service offering rural populations access to solar energy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar.

The scheme follows similar moves by the African Development Bank (ADB); earlier this year the bank helped mobilise $55m of new money to support off-grid solar in East Africa, as well as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. The investment forms part of the ADB’s plan to connect 29 million people on the continent with electricity by 2020.