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Published on September 4th, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha


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

September 4th, 2013 by  

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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About the Author

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.

  • alexaisback

    Interesting story.


    Years back a family member in the US Peace Corp goes to rural area with

    no running water. Installs diesel generator to run pump to provide potable

    water for the entire village ! Provides education and knowledge on

    potable water, sanitation, etc.. Everyone is Delighted !! They move forward

    and build a school near the site, Wonderful !

    Few months later, goes away a few weeks comes back, the generator is parted and
    the parts sold. Apparently it stopped working, no one knew why, maybe it simply

    ran out of diesel, so a decision was made to take it a part and sell the parts

    to benefit the village ! Brilliant. Then the school closed too.

    Similarly, in another village, seeing the people had no chairs or furniture

    I, because I am so smart, said why not make a chair ?

    They turned to me and said, why should I make a chair when I can sit

    on that log, or sit right there on a mat on the ground.

    Obviously I was not as smart as I thought !

    $ 10.00 bucks say the ” 13,200 solar systems have been installed in rural Ethiopia over the past nine months. ” won’t be there in a year. $ 20.00 says they wont be there in 2 years.
    Thanks World Bank – you sound as smart as I thought I was.


    • Bob_Wallace

      We got a call from your rock.

      They’re ready for you to slither back underneath.

  • Shiggity

    Bangladesh and Indonesia are going through similar transformations. Yay 2nd and 3rd world.

  • Martin Vermeer

    > In a recent announcement, the Ethiopian Ministry of Water and Energy
    claimed that around 13,200 solar systems have been installed in rural
    India over the past nine months.

    Eh, what business does the Ethiopian government have installing solar systems in India?


    • HabeshaObserver

      lol . . .Ethiopia electrifying India . . .looooool . . . .

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