Falling off-grid solar sales deprive 5 million people of access to clean energy
The latest edition of the World Bank and GOGLA's Global Off-grid Solar Market Report called for regulatory and financial support to help off-grid retailers create jobs lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit global sales of off-grid solar products to such an extent this year that it has been estimated that around 5 million people have been denied access to clean energy in their homes and their businesses.
Despite the 26% drop in sales of off-grid solar products in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, investors remain bullish, according to the World Bank and the leading off-grid PV trading body.
Current company GOGLA - formerly Global Off-grid Lighting Association - and the World Bank's Lighting Global program publish a semi-annual update on off-grid solar product sales.
As PV magazine reports, the latest January-June edition of the Global Off-grid Solar Market Report painted a mixed picture, with sales of solar-powered refrigerators down while solar TV numbers were flat.
GOGLA and the World Bank said regulatory and financial support could allow the sector to rebound to regain last year's growth momentum, but called for protecting off-grid solar companies from operational losses. Such companies could create jobs to replace jobs lost during the pandemic, according to the first half update.
The report describes how South Asia saw a 60% drop in sales of off-grid products compared to the first half of last year and, while the numbers for Central and West Africa remained stable, the East African market saw a reversal of 11%.
The drop in sales particularly affected energy-efficient solar water pumps. The resilience of solar TV sales has been attributed to a desire for entertainment and access to public health updates during Covid-19 related lockdowns.
GOGLA said three-quarters of off-grid investors were keen to maintain or increase their support this year and said funding bodies are also ready to ease conditions as the industry becomes more matu
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