How solar energy powers economic growth




August 22, 2017


3:34 pm


A stable energy sector is one of the most essential requirements for successful economic development and growth. Whilst in almost all countries in Europe or North America, the energy infrastructure is well developed, many other regions of the world have to deal with severe challenges in this area. In Africa, two-thirds of the continent’s population lack access to electricity. The reason for this energy crisis consists in particular in the rising electric power consumption per capita and the increasing gap between the growth of population, which was by 2.9% annually over the last 25 years, and the grid extension rate of only 2.7% over the same period.

On the African continent, the lack of power and the dependence on cost-expensive backup solutions represent a heavy burden for all the economic sectors, which contributes to slowing down the rate of growth. Considering the abundant natural resources in Africa and the increasingly dropping prices of components, solar energy installations represent a unique opportunity to face the burgeoning energy demand. However, establishing a renewable energy sector is challenging in sub-Saharan Africa since creditworthy power buyers are missing and the national governments struggle to cover the power purchase obligations of the local utilities.

In order to accelerate the renewable energy expansion and to attend to the growing energy requirements, successful clean energy projects have to be initiated to attract foreign investors. Through the realisation of several project approaches, we aim to support national economies worldwide to facilitate and spur economic growth, and contribute to meet the huge energy demand.


In Antigua and Barbuda, our 4 MWp solar power plant in the Bethesda area delivers clean energy where it is needed.


To quickly provide reliable energy to regions suffering from electricity scarcity, we focus on developing distributed utility-scale solar projects with energy generation capacities of 1 to 5 MW. We call this hands-on approach sun2grid. In comparison to white elephant projects – often installations with more than 50 to 100 MW – our sun2grid concept allows for a higher feasibility due to its lower technical and commercial risk and the smaller funding requirements. Due to the distributed energy generation by smaller clean energy installations, the generated power can easily be fed in the grid via existing main feed-in points. The purchase of big transformer stations, which are usually very expensive and often the sticking point for the implementation of large-scale projects, is not necessary. Moreover, these small to medium-sized projects require less land, less implementation time as well as less complicated licensing processes than very large installations. The decentralised solar systems are installed in close proximity to the end users and deliver energy where it is needed most and immediately consumed in the nearby surrounding of the power plants.


Distributed Generation (1 – 5 MW) vs. White Elephant projects (>100 MW)

This clean energy approach offers numerous benefits for the local communities, especially the reduction of the overall electricity costs. We provide regions outside major cities with affordable and reliable energy and relieve them from their dependence on diesel generators or other energy sources. But the installation of sun2grid systems not only ensures a stable and cost-effective power supply. At the same time it creates a microeconomic development around the facilities, since local workers have to be trained to install, operate and maintain the system and other stakeholders have to be involved during the preparation and running phase of the installations. This, again, creates local employment and contributes to the economic growth on a regional and national level.


Rooftop solar solutions provide affordable and reliable energy – such as in Antigua and Barbuda, installed and maintained by local workers.


Further, we support economies to establish a reliable energy supply through our project development, execution and financing model sun2share. By offering clients the possibility to benefit from our deep technology and service know-how and to jointly finance, implement and operate clean energy projects with us, we aim to ensure a long-term and successful partnership. These sun2share projects can for example be realised within the framework of an operation lease or a Power Purchase Agreement. Based on this model, we have already realised several rooftop and ground-mounted solar installations together with local businesses and industrial clients. Through all of these clean energy approaches, we aim to support regions with challenging energy situations spurring economic growth and the development of a sustainable and reliable energy infrastructure.


Read more about our distributed solar installations on Antigua and Barbuda

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