According to the World Bank, over 100 new solar-powered mini-grids have been rapidly deployed in Nigeria under its National Electrification Project, thanks to a market-driven approach to mini-grid development.
Yesterday, the World Bank released a press statement stating that powering 380 million people in Africa by 2030 would require the construction of over 160,000 mini-grids at a cost of $91 billion. The bank noted that the deployment of solar mini-grids in Sub-Saharan Africa has grown significantly, with over 3,000 installed as of today and another 9,000 planned for the next few years, due to declining component costs, digital solutions, capable mini-grid developers, and economies of scale.
The bank specifically highlighted Nigeria’s success, where the National Electrification Project supported by the World Bank has led to the deployment of over 100 new solar-powered mini-grids. While mini-grids could offer electricity at lower costs than utilities, with costs potentially as low as $0.20/kWh by 2030, the bank warns that further acceleration is needed to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7). At the current pace, only around 12,000 new mini-grids serving 46 million people will be built by 2030 at a total investment cost of approximately $9 billion.
Solar mini-grids have the potential to deliver reliable and uninterrupted renewable electricity to communities and villages in Sub-Saharan Africa that are currently underserved, making them the most cost-effective option to bridge the energy access gap on the continent by 2030. As per current estimates, 568 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, and nearly 8 out of 10 people without electricity worldwide live in Africa. If the current pace continues, it is projected that 595 million Africans will still be without electricity by 2030.