By Akani Chauke
During last week's Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference, Solarplaza unveiled 'The Solar Future: Deserts of Africa', a new platform aimed at exploring the opportunities that accompany solar PV development in Africa's deserts. This new two-day event will be hosted in Dakar, Senegal on 13-14 March 2019.
"At Solarplaza, we want to facilitate the solar energy sector by expanding into new markets early on, markets that capture both opportunities and challenges. We believe that, by launching our African desert platform, we keep true to our mission of positively impacting the world by accelerating the sustainable energy transition," said Lydia van Os, Africa Lead and Project Manager at Solarplaza.
With a dispersed, but rapidly growing population, desert countries will need to tap into a combination of solar solutions, such as utility-scale power plants, mini-grids and off-grid applications, to create impact in regions that are disproportionately affected by climate change.
Fully realizing the true solar potential of the deserts of Africa will require a vast effort, one that will need to align visionary governments, courageous development finance institutions, pioneering investors and experienced developers. Solarplaza seeks to support these efforts by creating the right platforms, like The Solar Future: Deserts of Africa, for these parties to meet, share ideas and form effective partnerships.
As a preparation for this event, Solarplaza sought to take stock of the past, current and future initiatives related to the development of solar capacity in the African deserts, in order to provide context to the discussion we'll aim to incite during the event.
All of these desert solar initiatives as well as solar energy developments on a country level can be found in the brand new 'Desert Solar' report (Africa.TheSolarFuture.com/desert-solar-white-paper ).
For the purposes of this report, namely determining the scope and scale of renewable energy ambitions in the region, the report included both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power initiatives and projects.