72 million solar home systems by 2030
Photo: Ewelina Wachala /Shutterstock

Universal access to energy is moving towards decentralized solutions: solar kits and microgrids They will create a market of 64,000 million euros, which will meet the objectives of the United Nations.

Access to energy by 2030.

Of the 238 million households that will benefit from guaranteed access to energy by 2030, 72 million will be equipped with solar home systems, while 34 million will benefit from micro-grids. This is the forecast prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which today focuses on off-grid solutions as an essential tool for sustainable development.

Since Thomas Edison started the world’s first utility company in 1882, the dominant framework for the supply of electricity has been a large power plant and a network of “poles and cables” for distribution. Since then, electricity has become one of the most basic elements of modern life, which is often taken for granted. However, after 136 years, the industry is still unable to reach around 14% of the world’s population.“, Explains the BNEF during the presentation of its last report, Fuel the last billion. “At this rate, some 700 million people will still be without energy in 2030. The report starts from a simple question: solar home systems (portable photovoltaic kits and “pay-as-you-go” installations) and micro-grids can they overcome the traditional network to provide access to energy?“.

What emerges clearly from the analysis are a number of points in favor of decentralized solutions. Energy produced by solar home systems can cost more than $ 1.5 per kWh, and a community micro-grid can cost between $ 0.29 and $ 0.77 per kWh. However, expanding the distribution infrastructure to an electrically insulated house can cost anywhere from $ 266 to over $ 2,000. In wealthier regions with high economic activity, this fixed connection cost can be amortized with relatively high electricity consumption rates. But about 892 million people live on less than $ 5.5 million a day, and modest demands on energy and off-grid facilities appear to be the most affordable option.

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In fact, there are still many areas near cities where there is no electricity and it makes sense to plan for an extension of the electricity grid. A field of action, explain the analysts of the BNEF, where the work of many utilities should focus in the years to come.

But from mid-2020, decentralized technologies will, for the first time, be able to deliver electricity to more people than the grid, through a combination of cheaper components, established supply chains and adoption of solar home systems by consumers. own consumers. Create a $ 64 billion market by the end of the next decade. “

This is well known to companies such as New Ventures (Shell), Engie and Enel, which have opened up their businesses to micro-grids, solar home systems and assistive technologies. Six of the top 20 oil and utility companies have participated in some activities aimed at providing energy access to rural communities. “The shift from large coal-fired and hydroelectric power stations to micro-grids and solar home systems is also decentralizing the way these systems are implemented, improved and maintained. Entrepreneurs in the industry are using data and connectivity to manage customer relationships and resources, focus on retail distribution, and reinvent the way energy is sold.