SNV urges partners to join forces in a call to action to ignite solar energy markets


SNV launched a Call to Action to ignite Solar markets, providing energy access for 5 million households, in 5 African countries within a 5 year period. Within this time frame, the market based approach aims to distribute 5 million lighting global certified, entry level solar products to low income communities. At the launch event which took place during the Vienna Energy Forum 9-12 May, SNV encouraged the stakeholder community to engage as partners in this initiative.

About 1.1 billion people globally do not have access to electricity, and the hardest hit communities are in sub-Saharan Africa. Vulnerable people spend a high proportion of their income on traditional energy sources – kerosene, candles, diesel, cooking fuels, disposable batteries, and often suffer from health problems due to related household air pollution and burns.

In recent years, the solar market has seen exponential growth in several sub-Saharan countries, however many countries are still excluded or seriously lagging behind. National policy and tax regulations are unclear in many cases, while quality standards are not being adopted. Consumer awareness on the benefits of solar energy is often lacking, while sub-standard products are flooding some markets. In other countries, quality products are not available, or come at a high cost, while access to finance is lacking for both companies and customers.

Speaking during the launch event, SNV’s Managing Director for Energy Tom Derksen said “The fact that solar energy is limited to just a few countries is simply not acceptable. Also, the impact of entry level solar solutions cannot be under estimated. Replacing kerosene with solar lamps offers returns of 15-45 times the cost of the solar light. It is vital that more communities can reap the benefits of solar energy”.

Derksen continued “ With the current level of energy access in developing countries and the slow pace of grid extension, off grid solutions will be needed for many decades to come, therefore it is imperative to support the development of sustainable, inclusive markets ensuring that low income people have access to affordable, reliable and economically viable technologies.”

Attendees at the Call to Action Launch

Tom Derksen, SNV Managing Director for Energy

Through this Call to Action, SNV and partners will ignite those markets that solar hasn’t reached. This will be achieved by triggering market parties to distribute quality products as a first step in building the market for sustainable, off-grid electrification. Also, by creating and incentivising sustainable supply and demand for energy products and by improving the enabling environment.

Read more about the Call to Action and join us! You can also watch a recording of the event.


Martijn Veen

Global Sector Head - Energy