Articles and Analysies
A Solar Energy Market Strategy for South Sudan by Amogpai Ater
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Apr 12, 2011 - 5:35:39 AM

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, and Ethiopia. It is time to think seriously about kick-staring real solar energy market in southern Sudan. 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 organizations.


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.


In Africa, 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 markets.


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]



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