A Solar Energy Market Strategy
for South Sudan
Now that some progress has been made
in growing demand and production-and getting prices down in neighbouring Kenya, Uganda,
It is time to think seriously about kick-staring real solar energy market in
There is a need for government of southern Sudan and local enterprises in co-operation
with international solar energy industry to aggressively invest in the
development of solar energy market and not to leave it up to aid and relief
It is important to engage
and educate government of southern Sudan and small enterprises about
the current global status of the solar energy sector and help them build
frameworks for industry growth. Markets for small off-grid solar systems, those
below 100 Wp, are important to kick-start solar energy industry in southern Sudan.
However, they will be less important in the long run term as demand for them
begins to fall. It is also useful to have an idea of where marketing and
development efforts will lead in the long term.
off-grid rural solar energy development has dominated discussion for so long
that we seem to have lost the bigger picture. However, in southern Sudan such a
discussion has not yet been experienced. The question now is where does the
solar energy industry want to be in 10 years in southern Sudan? Leave aside rural electrification impact
which is more attractive for solar energy company: 20,000 solar home systems at 50Wp will result
in 1 MW of sales. Roughly 90% of the southern Sudanese people live in rural
areas with poor conditions and with no access to modern energy services.
Kenya’s so-called ‘solar energy success
story’ is a good example of this. Its focus on small solar systems-to the
exclusion of larger commercial or grid connected systems. This has resulted in
an annual solar energy market of 1.5 MW that is low tech, over-the counter and
dominated by small products. But the market is stagnating.
Efforts by donors group
to build sales in poverty markets like southern Sudan will likely increase the
depth and accessibility of small scale solar energy systems. Unfortunately,
this will not build a market with 20 MW/year solar demand of scale that is
interesting to larger solar energy supply companies. The multi-dimensional and
sustainable healthy market is to be developed. Solar advocate must prepare the
ground for the verity of viable inches that will be part of a long term market.
In addition to rural electrification, this includes off-grid markets such as
telecoms, tourism, business and pumping as well as grid-tied and utility-scale
NOGs, rural solar
electrification is relief work and should not be confused as being the
foundation of a developing solar energy market in southern Sudan. The
multi-megawatt solar energy project market is not yet in southern Sudan. To
develop such a solar energy market, a focus on intermediate-sized 50 kW to 200
kW installation market is recommended. Developers, financiers, solar energy companies
and governments may help to push and open up new market for solar energy
systems in southern Sudan.
But experience on installation of solar energy systems in southern Sudan must be
gain first. When experience, for instance, of 50 kW solar energy systems is
gained the developers can bundled into financially attractive package. Hence,
developers, perhaps with donors agency help, think bigger than small home scale
solar energy system size.
Author is a Sudanese based in Finland and he
can reach at [email protected],
or [email protected]