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The Sun Rises in the East (of Africa): A Comparison of the Development and Status of the Solar Energy Markets in Kenya and Tanzania

This paper describes and analyses the historical development and current status of the solar energy markets in Kenya and Tanzania. It examines the development of both the Kenyan and the Tanzanian solar energy markets since their beginnings in the 1970s, their current size and structure and it presents forecasts for their future development. In addition, it highlights and explains similarities and differences between the solar energy markets of the two East African countries. The paper is based on an extensive literature survey that takes account of academic as well as ‘grey’ literature. The literature review has been complemented by 25 personal in-depth interviews with leading experts on the East African solar energy market. In the paper it is shown that the solar market of Kenya is one of the world’s leading markets for off-grid solar uses, with an installed capacity of around 10 MWp and over 300,000 solar home systems. The Tanzanian solar market is found to have developed much later than the Kenyan market and to remain smaller than its neighbour, with an installed capacity of around 4 MWp and 40,000 solar home systems. In addition to solar home systems, other segments for uses of solar energy in social institutions, telecoms and tourism are also covered. The paper draws some initial policy conclusions regarding the regulation and promotion of solar energy in East Africa. Awareness, availability and affordability are found to be major drivers that all need to be present to enable the widespread uptake of off-grid solar technologies in emerging markets.

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Paper provided by Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University in its series Working Papers with number FNU-195.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: 04 Mar 2011
Date of revision: 04 Mar 2011
Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:195
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  1. Jacobson, Arne & Kammen, Daniel M., 2007. "Engineering, institutions, and the public interest: Evaluating product quality in the Kenyan solar photovoltaics industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2960-2968, May.
  2. Jacobson, Arne, 2007. "Connective Power: Solar Electrification and Social Change in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 144-162, January.
  3. Sheya, Mohammed S. & J.S. Mushi, Salvatory, 2000. "The state of renewable energy harnessing in Tanzania," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 65(1-4), pages 257-271, April.
  4. Acker, Richard H & Kammen, Daniel M, 1996. "The quiet (energy) revolution : Analysing the dissemination of photovoltaic power systems in Kenya," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 81-111, January.
  5. Janosch Ondraczek, 2011. "The Sun Rises in the East (of Africa): A Comparison of the Development and Status of the Solar Energy Markets in Kenya and Tanzania," Working Papers FNU-195, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised 04 Mar 2011.
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