Failed projects coupled with minimum investment have characterised the field of solar energy in Africa – but solar energy could be the key to a better standard of living across the continent.

This is according to Lindiwe Nkosi, project director for the Solar Energy Africa conference to be held in Johannesburg next week.

“Solar Energy Africa is the platform where we will critically assess how Africa is doing with solar and what assistance they need to take it further.  We are providing a very practical take on how solar works, what has happened on the continent so far and what investment opportunities are available,” Nkosi says.

“Because there hasn’t been much training, teething problems and failed projects seem to be the experience alongside little to no investment in these projects because we as Africans have not validated these sources of energy and their technologies.

“We have to acknowledge though that with government support, foreign investment and more knowledge on solar energy, Africa will rise to this available source of energy and soar.  Solar energy not only will guarantee nights with lights in hospitals or better quality of service in rural Africa, it will create jobs and bring about a better living standard for all.”

Solar Energy Africa will also looks at how independent power producers (IPPs) and municipalities can play an effective role within this growing energy sector.

“We also give some practical examples of how the financing of solar projects does not have to be a scary and difficult process and how suppliers can play a role through partnerships. We have very practical

Recently the commercial solar industry in South Africa received a great boost when Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that the African Development Bank had approved the loan of $365-million to Eskom, as part of its renewable energy project build programme in line with the IRP.