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Ethiopia Has Added 13,200 Off-grid Solar Power Systems Since December 2012

In a recent announcement, the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy claimed that around 13,200 solar systems have been installed in rural Ethiopia over the past nine months. These systems are based on distributed power technology as there is no grid connectivity in those areas.

The program is a part of a project launched in December last year at a cost of about $11 million secured from the World Bank. The project aims to power a total of 25,000 households across the country by the end of November this year. With current installation of 13,200, the project has successfully crossed the halfway milestone.

Ethiopia solar rooftop projects

Credit: Rooftop solar power by Pink Dispatcher | CC BY SA 2.0

The Ministry’s Director of Public Relations, Bizuneh Tolcha said that the installation “will provide enough power for lighting, mobile phones, computers and a solar fridge for each home.”

Ethiopia has suffered badly over the last few years from energy crises due to depletion of its oil and natural gas reserves. In 2009, less than 10% households had access to electricity. To overcome this situation, the government had come out with an ambitious dam building program which aimed to produce 1.18 GW from three dams. The current program of solar system installation in the rural areas will further improve energy access in the country.

Ethiopia is aggressively looking to invest in alternative energy sources. A joint steering committee has been set up under the Ministry of Water & Energy (MoWE) and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to develop and implement clean and renewable energy projects which can later benefit from carbon trading schemes. Till now, of the total four projects handed over to MoWE, three are expected to reduce about 65,720 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.

The Development Bank of Ethiopia is in discussion with several interested parties and is collaborating with the World Bank for financing renewable energy projects. In January this year, the Bank had announced that over the coming months it would create a $20 million fund to promote geothermal energy projects while another $20 million would be added later as a part of a private sector initiative funded by the World Bank.

Some other interesting articles covering efforts in Ethiopia to improve energy access and reduce GHG emissions

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Written By

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.


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