Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon
The off-grid solar energy technology market will boom over the next 5 years, with sales hitting the $3.1 billion mark by 2020, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Considering that roughly $27 billion a year is spent globally on lighting + mobile-phone charging via conventional sources/technologies (kerosene, candles, disposable batteries, etc), the prediction wouldn’t mark the occurrence of a game-change in the market, but would comprise a notable dent.
The new report — which was commissioned by the World Bank–backed Lighting Global initiative — noted that the market was already entering a period of maturity, as there are now more than 100 companies focused on solar lanterns and charging kits. Investment into the market hit the $276 million mark last year.
“The pay-as-you-go business model combines rapid innovation in solar, batteries and LED lights with the transformative power of mobile communication technology,” stated Itamar Orlandi, BNEF’s head of applied research. “This allows new companies to build services, sales and a deep understanding of their customers at an accelerating pace, which in turn is attracting new sources of growth capital into the industry.”
The report argues that while the current focus is on lighting and phone charging that changes are likely over the next few years.
“About seven million off-grid households will use solar-powered fans and 15 million households will have a solar-powered TV in 2020, according to our estimates,” the BNEF report noted. “Similar systems will also provide services to small businesses.”