Can universal access to energy really be achieved in less than 10 years?
A new whitepaper by d.light
, a leading manufacturer of affordable high quality solar lights, suggests that that universal access to energy could be achieved in half the time and cost that leading agencies predict – provided solar energy providers, investors and governments can coordinate their efforts to solve key barriers to growth.
d.light’s ‘Power for All’ whitepaper draws from eight year’s of experience in serving more than 6 million low-income customers across the world, to show how decentralised energy solutions that make use of renewable power sources are better suited to meet the energy needs of low-income consumers in rural areas. The report provides a roadmap to show how distributed solar power could quickly leapfrog electrical grids and rapidly accelerate the energy access timeline.
Universal access to energy could be achieved in half the time and cost that leading agencies predict, provided coordinated efforts are made to solve key barriers to growth
The steady growth of the solar sector in emerging markets shows that demand exists for decentralised energy solutions – provided critical consumer requirements for high-quality, affordable and readily available products can be met. Shell Foundation and d.light have been working together since 2009 to pioneer a range of new models and solutions to meet this challenge.
With sales of solar lanterns increasing by nearly 100% every year since 2009, and a range of solar manufacturers now serving BOP markets, d.light suggest that the solar sector could be scaled to serve all 1.4 billion people currently without access to energy at a far quicker pace than extensions to national grids would allow.
In fact they believe this could be achieved by 2023, at a total cost of $70 billion, if this capital can be deployed to build the infrastructure needed to serve these consumers. To achieve this, the paper calls for a shift in thinking by relevant private and public stakeholders: recommending solar manufacturers focus efforts on three main consumer needs, governments incorporate distributed renewable power as a key part of rural energy policy and social investors prioritise the differentiated funding requirements of energy businesses at different stages of growth.