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Photo Voltaic Solar electricity potential in Africa © Renewable energies in Africa, edited by F. Monforti 2011

Screening Africa's renewable energies potential

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a study mapping the potential of renewable energy sources in Africa.

The report analyses the current energy consumption in Africa and assesses potential of renewable energy sources - solar, wind, biomass and hydropower - and their cost efficiency and environmental sustainability.

The map of Africa's solar electricity potential, based on the JRC's Photovoltaic Geographical Information System (PVGIS), shows that in many parts of Africa the same photovoltaic panel could produce twice as much electricity as it would produce in Central Europe. However, in order to assess the suitability of solar energy to provide electricity in rural areas, this option has to be assessed against costs for grid extensions and with the traditional diesel generators. A combined analysis of photovoltaic systems, grid extensions and diesel options shows for each area which option is the most cost efficient.
In Northern Africa, the promising potential of renewable energies, in particular solar and wind energy, has to compete with cheap fossil fuel. Meanwhile the challenge in the Sub-Saharan regions is to improve sustainability and efficiency of traditional biomass use and to provide a suitable alternative to biomass overexploitation. This alternative should be based on cleaner energy sources, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where firewood and charcoal represent 80% of total energy use and where most of the population lives in rural areas with no access to electricity.

Source: Physorg.com 

Download the report 'Renewable energies in Africa' at: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/111111111/23076