Flows of knowledge from one country to another have been central to solar’s progress
Despite the positive global and regional trajectories of electrification, there is still a large unmet need for electricity. As of 2020, approximately 733 million people around the world do not have access to electricity. This figure is lower than the number of people without access in 2010, when 1.2 billion people were without power. However, sub-Saharan Africa still represents more than three-quarters of the global population without access to electricity.
In order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal for affordable and clean energy, more than 100 million new connections must be added each year. At current rates, only 92 percent of the world’s population will have access to electricity by 2030. It’s imperative that developing countries ensure no one is left behind. That will require an increased deployment of renewable energy sources and a renewed focus on reducing the costs of solar and other low-carbon technologies.
While the World Bank’s Global Tracking Framework shows a steady increase in the share of the world’s population with access to electricity, progress has slowed in recent years. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least electrified region in the world, and is a major reason why more than seven hundred million people do not have access to electricity.
The World Bank’s Global Tracking Framework (GTF) has been tracking progress towards universal energy access since 2010. The GTF, which was formerly called the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), has been funded by the World Bank. According to the report, the GTF’s main findings were that the share of the world’s population with electricity increased from 83 percent in 2010 to 91 percent in 2020. But progress was uneven across regions. There was significant growth in the share of people with access in the West and in China, and declines in the share of people with access in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, there were also large improvements in the adoption of automation and other low-carbon technologies.
The GTF’s analysis of solar photovoltaics (PV) illustrates how PV has been successful, and how other low-carbon technologies can follow in its footsteps. While the adoption of PV has increased rapidly in recent years, other low-carbon technologies have been slower, and in some cases have been stagnant. One key explanation for the slow pace of progress is the rapid increase in the cost of solar modules and other equipment. Another factor is the complex nature of reaching remote populations, which has limited the scale of investment.
Ultimately, the Global Tracking Framework demonstrates that despite the slow rate of progress, every region of the world has shown a trend of increasing electrification. In fact, the share of people with access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased significantly, rising from 46 percent in 2018 to 48 percent in 2020.
Hi, I’m David. I’m an author of ManagEnergy.tv where we teach people how to save energy and money in their homes and businesses.
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