Factoring Africa’s Solar Power Potential into the Continental Master Plan

GET.transform contributes to AUDA-NEPAD’s Specific Support Studies in partnership with the EU-GTAF
Reflective panels in a solar thermal power plant in South Africa
(c) istock/fivepointsix

In preparation of Africa’s Continental Master Plan (CMP), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) has published six specific support studies in partnership with the EU Global Technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Energy (EU-GTAF). Each study explores a different technology dimension that is vital to factor into the CMP: from battery energy storage, geothermal and green hydrogen to hydro pumped storage, solar and wind.

The Continental Master Plan (CMP) serves as an important foundation for the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM). Through different scenarios, it informs on preferred generation capacities within regional power pools and transmission infrastructure   across regional power pools and African Union member countries based on a least cost optimisation approach. By ultimately enabling electricity trade between regions, the CMP aims to help unlock economic and financial advantages resulting from enhanced interconnections.

GET.transform is among AUDA-NEPAD’s network of partners that contribute to the CMP. Earlier support focused on transmission network planning capacities in partnership with the African Power Pools. With a view to the current set of technology overviews, GET.transform delivered the Study on Solar. It highlights Africa’s enormous solar potential which sees large areas receiving 7 kWh/m² per day and is suited to a variety of use cases form utility-scale, commercial & industrial (C&I) projects, to off-grid, agrivoltaics and floating solar solutions. At the same time, the study takes stock of the limited solar deployment so far which concentrates on just a few countries and collectively supplies less than 1% of total power generation in Africa.

The report delves into the technical and regulatory issues behind these low shares which directly touch on some of the CMP’s objectives. Stakeholders across Africa need to plan for a rapid expansion of storage and transmission infrastructure to allow a better integration and use of solar power. Meanwhile, robust regulation is required to inspire private sector investment and cross-border trading.

In answer to the identified barriers, the solar study provides technical, grid-focused as well as policy- and finance-related recommendations.

Find all Specific Support Studies for the CMP available at cmpmwanga.nepad.org.

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