Insights from the January-June 2023 sales and impact data
Authors: Oliver Reynolds (GOGLA), Serra Paixao (GOGLA)
Contributors: Leo Blyth (Efficiency for Access), Joseph Thomas (Efficiency for Access), Jakub Vrba (Efficiency for Access), Elisa Lai (Efficiency for Access), Yasmin Erboy Ruff (Efficiency for Access), Siena Hacker (Efficiency for Access) and Chiedza Mazaiwana (Lighting Global, World Bank Group)
This blogpost replaces the Semi-annual Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report for the period January-June 2023. From this point on, GOGLA, with support from Efficiency for Access and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global program, will publish an Annual Global Off-Grid Solar Market Report after collecting a full twelve months of sales data. These reports will be published during the spring of the following year.
Data collection will continue to occur every six months and participating companies will continue to get access to the most granular data available through our online dashboard. At the half-year mark, the semi-annual report will be replaced by a shorter, higher-level blogpost as well as a short public report leveraging the sales and impact data to explore specific topics or parts of the market. The first of these reports will focus on the potential for impact of result based finance (RBF) schemes.
Key figures from the January-June 2023 data:
- Appliance (TVs, fans, refrigeration units and solar water pumps) sales exceed 1 million units sold in six months for the first time
- 4.3 million solar energy kits (lanterns, multi-light systems and solar home systems) were sold, on par with the first half of 2022, but 17% lower than in the second half of 2022
A potential plateau in solar energy kit sales in 2023
Sales data for the first half of 2023 (H1 2023) indicate a potential plateauing of solar energy kit sales. While sales for the first half of 2023 are on par with those in the first half of 2022 – 4.3 million units sold – they have not continued their growth trajectory and have decreased by 17% compared to the second half of 2022. There is strong market seasonality, notably in many Sub-Saharan African regions, with lower sales in the first half of each year when compared to the second half. However, without significant growth in the second half of the year, sales will either remain the same as, or lower than those seen in 2022 which were the highest annual sales ever recorded by the industry.
Cash and PAYGo sales decreased compared to the second half of 2022, but PAYGo sales have remained more resilient overall. Of the 4.3 million units sold in H1 2023, 2.6 million were sold in cash. Cash sales decreased 18% compared to the previous reporting round and 8% compared to the sales of H1 2022. A key factor in the decrease of cash sales is the continued shrinking of lantern sales in India since 2018 (see below). Although PAYGo sales decreased 15% compared to the second half of 2022, they were 13% higher than during the first half of 2022. (Figure 2)
Two product categories have seen notable changes in sales numbers when compared to the first half of 2022: 1.5-3Wp (22% down), and 21-49Wp (125% up). Other product categories show similar sales numbers when compared to H1 2022 (and almost all decline compared with sales of H2 2022). Overall, 2.5 million lanterns were sold during H1 2023, 944,000 multi-light systems and 841,000 SHS. (Figure 3, Figure 4)
Despite a slowdown in sales growth, the number of people benefiting from improved energy access has increased as products sold both in H1 2023 and in previous years are continuing to serve new customers. An estimated 109 million people currently benefit from improved energy access from solar energy kits sold by GOGLA affiliates (Figure 6), with 3 million people using them to support enterprises. Since 2010, usage of products sold by GOGLA affiliates has led to an estimated 103 million tons of CO2e emissions avoided from kerosene replacement alone (Figure 5).
Key appliance sales exceed 1 million units sold for the first time.
1,019,676 units were sold during the first half of 2023. This represents a 14% increase in sales compared to the first half of 2022 and a 60% increase in sales compared to the seasonally low second half of 2022.
Sales of solar powered fans hit an all time high, with 788,469 units sold (Figure 8). Fan sales exhibit a seasonal pattern, particularly in South Asia, where distributors stockpile in the early part of the year before the hottest months arrive. It is therefore not surprising that sales in the first half of 2023 are more than double that of the second half of 2022. Sales in H1 2023 grew by 13% compared to the first half of 2022, with much growth driven by sales in West Africa.
Sales of solar powered TVs in H1 2023 also grew by 19% when compared to H1 2022, reaching 216,358 units sold. (Figure 7) Growth is mostly driven by sales in West Africa, while sales in East Africa are more stagnant.
However, compared to H2 2022, TV sales in H1 2023 decreased 8% . Household appliance sales in Sub-Saharan Africa are typically linked to solar home system sales.
Productive appliance sales grew by more than 20% compared to the first half of 2022. Refrigeration unit sales shrank by 28% compared to the second half of 2022, but are 21% higher than in the first half of 2022 (Figure 10). Solar water pump sales decreased by 25% compared to H2 2022, but they grew 23% compared to H1 2022 (Figure 9). A notable difference is that for solar water pumps, sales have shown signs of ramping up in 2022 and 2023. Further data collection is needed to confirm this trend yet, several industry players have pointed out that the rise in programmatic interventions to promote productive use has been a contributing factor.
Affiliates’ sales recorded since 2018 have enabled over 20 million people to get access to fans, 13 million to TVs, 435,000 to solar water pumps and 181,000 to refrigeration units (Figure 11, Figure 12). Access to these appliances has the potential to lead to a number of benefits from improved livelihoods to thermal comfort and access to information.
East Africa: Sales of solar energy kits remained stable, but appliance sales grew slightly
Over 2.2 million units of off-grid solar energy kits have been sold in East Africa between January and June 2023. This is a 13% decrease compared to the second half of 2022 and on par with the first half of 2022, mimicking global sales trends (Figure 14). East Africa represents 52% of global solar energy kit sales.
During the first half of 2023, the total recorded number of key appliances sold in East Africa reached 127,694 units. This is a 20% increase compared to the first half of 2022, and a 5% increase compared to the second half of 2022 (Figure 15).
TVs represent close to 86% of key appliances sold in East Africa. TV sales in the region have been relatively stable over the last 12 months. Fan sales reached 17.981 in the first half of 2023, a significant increase from past rounds. This trend will be monitored as sales of the appliance in the region have generally remained low.
Among productive appliances, solar water pump sales during the first half of 2023 reached 7,336 units which is 24% lower than during the second half of 2022 and 5% higher than the first half of the same year. 883 refrigeration units were sold in East Africa in H1 2023. Compared to H2 2022, the sales increased 41%, however the numbers are 9% lower compared to H1 2022.
West Africa: Sales of solar energy kits decrease for the first time since 2018, while appliance sales continue to grow
841,000 units of solar energy kits were sold in West Africa in the first half of 2023, a 9% decrease compared to the second half of 2022 (although still 33% higher than H1 2022) (Figure 16). The decrease in sales in West Africa is noteworthy as much of the growth observed in the region up to H2 2022 was in large part driven by the successful RBF scheme under the Nigeria Electrification Program (NEP). With the RBF scheme running out of funds before the end of its term, it is unsurprising to see the market contract in the first half of 2023. It is encouraging to see only a small contraction (14% in Nigeria) and to see distributors still ordering large volumes in 2023 (623,000 units reported in H1 2023). With the upcoming DARES program there is a strong expectation that the sales dip will be temporary.
Despite a dip in solar energy kit sales, appliance sales in West Africa continued to grow in H1 2023 (Figure 17). This is mainly due to continued growth in household appliances and especially fans in Nigeria. Fan sales in the region in H1 2023 grew by 30% compared to the second half of 2022 and more than doubled (+121%) compared to fan sales of H1 2022. TV sales for H1 2023, grew by 9% compared to H2 2022 and are now 43% higher than sales in H1 2022.
Productive use appliance sales grow compared to the first half of 2022 . Sales of solar water pumps in the first half of 2023 reached 2,828 units. Although this number is 28% lower than the second half of 2022, it is significantly higher (+154%) compared to the first half of 2022. The total number of refrigerator units sold in West Africa was 1,679 in H1 2023. The sales decreased 17% compared to H2 2022 yet they were 36% higher in comparison to H1 2022.
South Asia: Solar energy kits sales continue to decrease, while Pakistan records seasonal peak in fan sales
In H1 2023, sales of off-grid solar energy kits in South Asia have decreased by 7% compared to the second half of 2022, totalling just over 420,000 units (Figure 18). This continues the trend of lower sales for solar lanterns and plug-n-play kits linked to increased grid electrification and a shift towards component based and hybrid solutions, which can be paired with a weak-grid connection.
Recorded appliance sales in South Asia are mostly driven by fan sales in Pakistan. These follow a very strong seasonal pattern with distributors building up stock in the first half of the year in anticipation for the warmest months. In the first half of 2023, over 575,000 units of fans were sold in South Asia, a 159% increase compared to H2 2022, but 5% lower than the previous seasonal peak in H1 2022 (Figure 19).
Sales of appliances in South Asia differ greatly from sales in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa, most appliances are sold as part of a SHS usually sold through PAYGo. In South Asia, appliances are usually sold independently of a power source and PAYGo is very uncommon. With fans commonly sold in both regions, this results in global fan sales shifting from being mostly sold cash and unbundled from a power source during the first half of the year when sales in South Asia are high and being mostly sold bundled and with a higher proportion of PAYGo sales during the second half of the year when sales in South Asia are lower (Figure 20, Figure 21).
2023 sales of off-grid solar energy kits could be as high as for 2022 if the second half of the year emulates the second half of 2022. However, without continued growth, the industry will not be able to fulfill its contribution in reaching universal electrification goals and providing replacement products for those whose products will reach end of life.
Continued growth in household appliance sales, despite lower solar home system sales in the first half of 2023, is a positive sign and shows an increasing appetite for solutions that go beyond lighting. While sales of productive appliances remains low, growing support from programmatic interventions focusing on productive use of energy will hopefully translate into more significant increases in sales reported by GOGLA affiliates in coming reporting rounds. To keep track of the sales and impact of the industry, read the upcoming annual report on the sales and impact of the industry which will be published in the spring of 2024.
Programmatic interventions and notably RBFs have been playing a growing role in supporting access to energy goals over the last decade. This will be the focus of the upcoming topical market data report developed in collaboration between GOGLA, Efficiency for Access and the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program.
Participating companies can access the online data platform at data.gogla.org.
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