Solar the Best Solution for West Africa’s Future Energy Mix

According to a recently released report by a research team in Finland, West African countries will consider solar Photovoltaic (PV) a prime source in their potential energy systems as they decarbonize in the decades leading up to 2050.

The research team says hybrid PV battery systems will be the most affordable option to the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS through 2050. Researchers concluded that the ECOWAS area might promote the implementation of substantial renewables in the decades ahead without the need to rely on state funds. They argued that renewables provide the lowest-cost alternative for the West African power system without subsidies.

“The ECOWAS energy policy should place solar PV at its core. Hybrid solar PV-battery power systems appear the least-cost solution for the region. A strong transmission grid infrastructure can enable substantial wind electricity generation from Niger and Mali, which can further reduce the entire energy system [levelized cost of energy] of West Africa,” the research paper states.

Currently, approximately half of the citizens residing in the ECOWAS region do not have stable access to power and with global electricity demand expected to grow to 250 TWh by around five times over the current decade, the need for long-term energy grid preparation is now more urgent than ever.