ore financing is needed to rapidly expand access to off-grid solar energy for people living without electricity globally, experts and officials said during the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum which closed in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, Thursday.
Sameer Shukla, an advisor at Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a global knowledge and technical assistance program under the World Bank, said while the global lender has provided 2.5 billion U.S. dollars as concessional financing to several African countries to scale up access to energy over the last seven years, the funding remains inadequate.
“In the next eight years up to 2030, our strategy is to try to leverage as many resources as we can both from private sector, donors and public institutions as well as other sources such as carbon finance, climate funding to fill the funding gap,” he said.
The forum, which gathered more than 1,000 delegates from nearly 70 countries, sought to accelerate the development of the global off-grid solar market in a bid to achieve universal energy access by 2030.
About 789 million people live without electricity worldwide, according to the World Bank.
“It is possible to meet the target in 2030. So far, we are getting hundreds of millions of dollars per year and we have to mobilize and reach more than 2 billion U.S. dollars per year in the next eight years,” said Shukla.
Koen Peters, the executive director of GOGLA, a global association for the off-grid solar energy industry, called for cooperation between governments, non-government organizations and investors to meet the energy target.
He said that 2.3 billion U.S. dollars have been invested and there is a need for between 20 billion and 30 billion dollars up to 2030 to connect people without power, the majority living in Asia and Africa.
Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Ernest Nsabimana stressed the role of the private sector and financial institutions in scaling up clean energy access through solar energy.
“Solar energy has a direct impact on our communities. Accelerating development of the solar industry on the African continent and globally is critical. We need to adopt smart approaches,” he said, adding that electricity access is one of the keys to unlocking economic growth.