Africa’s Solar Power Potential

• April 21, 2012

Africa has immense solar resources capable of meeting the continent’s projected energy demand* many times over. Currently, Africa uses approximately 500 million megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Based on data by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Labs** Africa could theoretically produce 42 billion megawatt-hours, more than 80x it’s current demand.

Africa’s Solar Energy Potential: 42.7 billion MWh’s per year

* Current total electricity consumption is from 2005 CIA World Factbook.

** Solar potential is based on the International Clean Energy Analysis Gateway (ICEA) which uses 2008 NREL (U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab) data to determine total solar energy potential per year as a function of land area per solar class, assuming a conservative 10% conversion efficiency on available, productive land. For the Tck Climate Guide, we use a 50% deployment of available, productive land as a benchmark.

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About the Author

Karl Burkart is the Digital Communications Director for the GCCA, the Global Call for Climate Action, and TckTckTck, a network of 400+ diverse organizations working around the world for greater action on the growing problem of climate change. Karl also blogs on technology and the environment for a variety of publications. You can follow him on Twitter @greendig.

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