Sales for lighting products are almost back to pre-COVID levels, despite considerable disparities between markets
Since 2010, 380 million people have benefitted from improved access to clean energy through off-grid lighting products from GOGLA affiliates
GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar industry and Efficiency for Access, with support from the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program, published its latest semi-annual Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report with data from July to December of 2021.
Numbers from the second half of 2021 show that GOGLA affiliates sold close to 4 million solar lighting products, demonstrating the industry’s continued recovery from the COVID pandemic, with some segments of the market now back on an overall upwards trajectory. However, this recovery has been uneven and disparities between markets and products are quite pronounced, with key appliances sales actually decreasing 20% versus the first half of the year, strongly driven by a drop in fan sales.
In the last six months of 2021, sales of PAYGo products reached a record high of over 1.5 million units. This was driven by the growth in sales of PAYGo solar lanterns, the most affordable line of products in the off-grid range.
Affordability is a major barrier to clean energy access, and the challenge has been heightened as the COVID-19 pandemic has knocked millions of additional families into poverty. High PAYGo lantern sales suggest that the option to pay for these products in instalments, rather than upfront with cash, is helping more households to take a first step towards modern energy access. Many PAYGo lantern customers go on to purchase larger energy systems and appliances once they have paid off their initial purchase - moving up the ‘clean energy staircase’.
Programmatic interventions also appear to play a key role in driving the recovery. For example, in Nigeria, a results-based financing (RBF) scheme, led by the Rural Electrification Agency and supported by the World Bank and African Development Bank, helped over 150,000 new households connect to off-grid solar between July and December 2021.
Mozambique also saw increases in the sales of both solar lighting products and appliances following the government’s adoption of a supportive regulatory framework and the ongoing impact of the UK Aid/Sida funded BRILHO Programme.
“We are encouraged by the resilience the industry has shown over the past two years, and especially by the positive signals of recovery over these last six months. Programmatic and government interventions have had an important role to play in the progress made so far, and further efforts will be required to help countries and markets get back on track, and to ensure the most vulnerable aren't left behind." shared Dana Rysankova, Global Lead for Energy Access, the World Bank.
Since 2010, 380 million people have benefited from improved access to energy thanks to off-grid solar technologies provided by GOGLA affiliates. However, although the latest data set reveals the green shoots of recovery from COVID, sales are still not at the level they were in the second half of 2019. The impact of the pandemic on household incomes, inflation and product costs continues to slow progress and has led to millions of homes and businesses missing out on anticipated access to clean power and appliances.
This slowed progress has also led to a missed climate opportunity. Off-grid solar products, such as solar lighting, water pumps and cooling systems, help to displace carbon emissions from diesel generators and kerosene, whilst enabling millions of people to become more resilient to the negative effects of climate change. Amongst other impacts, off-grid solutions can help to enhance food security by providing resilience to droughts and increasing yields.
“Continued investment is key to strengthening the link between off-grid solar systems and efficient appliances which mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the use of diesel generators. In this way, inclusive appliances can help accelerate a just and inclusive clean energy transition.
It is crucial that we continue to work to increase access to affordable, high-performing and inclusive appliances that enable access to clean energy, and support the continued growth of the off-grid appliance sector which will help people and countries withstand the climate emergency and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” said Emilie Carmichael, Head of International, Energy Saving Trust, and Jenny Corry Smith, Director, Clean Energy Access, CLASP.
Koen Peters, Executive Director at GOGLA indicates “We see the off-grid solar market showing signs of recovery after two very challenging years. However, to reach climate action and energy access goals by 2030, the industry needs additional support from policymakers, development partners and investors to reach the underserved populations still living with no access to energy.”
* You can access the full Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report Semi-Annual Sales and Impact Data July-December 2021 here. Data included in the report is only for GOGLA affiliates; it doesn’t cover the whole off-grid solar market.
GOGLA is the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry. We are proud to champion one of the world’s most innovative and impactful sectors. Hundreds of millions of people already benefit from affordable, high-quality, clean off-grid solar products and services.
With the right support, our pioneering industry will be able to scale up rapidly to improve the lives of 1 billion people by 2030. To help make this happen, we promote, safeguard, and convene the industry, advocating for enabling policies and increased investment as well as supporting our 200+ members with effective services.
Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s initiative to rapidly increase access to off-grid solar energy for the 789 million people living without electricity world-wide. Managed by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), we work with governments, the private sector, development partners, and end-users, continually innovating to unlock key market barriers and enable access and affordability to those that would otherwise be left behind. Our support has expanded to technologies that go far beyond lighting, including systems to power the needs of households, businesses, schools, and health centers. We operate with funding gratefully acknowledged from ESMAP and their donors.
Efficiency for Access is a global coalition working to promote affordable, high-performing, and inclusive appliances that enable access to clean energy for the world’s poorest people. It is a catalyst for change, accelerating the growth of off and weak-grid appliance markets to boost incomes, reduce carbon emissions, improve quality of life, and support sustainable development. It is co-chaired by UK aid and the IKEA Foundation.
Efficiency for Access consists of 18 Donor Roundtable Members, 17 Programme Partners, and 34 Investor Network members. Current Efficiency for Access Coalition members have programmes and initiatives spanning 54 countries and 26 key technologies.
The Coalition is coordinated jointly by CLASP, an international appliance energy efficiency and market development specialist not-for-profit organisation, and Energy Saving Trust, which specialises in energy efficiency product verification, data and insight, advice, and research.