August 3, 2017 - Ethiopia and the UK signed an agreement to work the acceleration of off–grid household solar energy market. Out of Ethiopia’s 100 million population only 35 percent have access to electricity, according to Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and electricity. The agreement, which is part of the UK’s Energy Africa campaign, was signed by Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia H.E. Dr. Engineer Sileshi Bekele and British Ambassador to Ethiopia Susanna Moorehead.
Recently Ethiopia has embarked upon promoting Solar photovoltaics to replace fuel-based lighting and off-grid electrical needs. Ethiopia is thought to have about 5 MW of off-grid solar. Almost all current solar power is used for telecommunications. Other uses include village well pumps, health care and school lighting. The Ethiopian government initiative plans to bring solar power to over 150,000 households. The first phase included 1 MW of panels. The first large installation of solar was a village grid of 10 kW in 1985, expanded to 30 kW in 1989. A solar panel assembly plant opened in Addis Ababa in early 2013 capable of making 20 MW of panel per year.
The UK’s Energy Africa campaign was launched in October 2015 and focuses on developing the household solar market as one of the cheapest and most effective ways of accelerating universal energy access in Africa.
With this agreement, the UK will help the Government of Ethiopia achieve its ambitious energy access targets by developing partnerships with the private sector. The UK will provide support to build delivery capacity within the Government, and support businesses that wish to work in and expand this market.
Speaking following the signing ceremony Ambassador Moorehead said: I’m delighted to have signed the UK-Ethiopia Energy Compact today. This compact will support the development of the off-grid energy sector in Ethiopia.
The partnership will bring together British companies, British technology and Ethiopian demand to support innovative ways of supplying clean energy to poor people in rural areas.