As grid supply remains inadequate to meet domestic demand for electricity, the Senior Policy Advisor, Solar Power Europe, Miguel Herrero Cangas, has urged policy makers to channel their investment decisions into solar projects for sustainable economic recovery.

According to him, solar is going to be the key to achieving a resilient economic recovery as countries across the globe are trying to come out of the economic shocks caused by the pandemic.

Cangas stated this at a webinar tagged “How policymakers, the grid and big techs are key to net zero”.

He raised concerns about the slow penetration of solar in Africa, citing the need for African governments to increase access to electricity to a very large population, pointing out that the key complexity is the grid that needs to be developed to meet the growing population’s energy needs.

He added: “The key challenge in Africa particularly sub-Saharan Africa is how to increase access to electricity for a very large population that does not have access to reliable clean electricity. The cost effectiveness of solar comes in to provide at least some solutions, although there are very notable solar projects in Nigeria and also some business models related to solar projects.”

“The key complexity is the grid; there is need to develop grid that can meet the needs of the growing population with growing population needs. It is going to take a lot of efforts, but we are working actively to collaborate with industry associations in Nigeria and other parts of the country in Africa to unlock the potentials of solar,” he stressed.

He said to decarbonise an economy in an active way, there is an urgent need for renewable energy to shield markets from energy price hikes, need for a decentralised renewable energy to make sure that everyone contributes and benefits from energy transition.

“Beyond the need to electrify our goal of 45 per cent target in the renewable energy, we are expecting the solar market in the European Union (EU) to grow at an accelerated rate. The most important thing right now is to make sure that we get the implementation of the clean energy package right. We had these very good set of regulations approved a couple of years ago, but unfortunately some key points were not fully translated into national law such permitting and administrative procedures, which are still slowing down the development of solar projects across the EU.

“We have to improve the clean energy package in a number of ways, we also have to set up the right conditions for the development and growth of renewable hydrogen market, which will play a very important role particularly to decarbonising sectors that direct electrification is not possible,” he noted.

He stated that the two most selling points of solar are price competitiveness and the massive amount of job opportunities it creates during the construction phase, stating that corporate sourcing is a key way to really have a win-win situation to unlock credit investments towards a clean energy transition and decarbonising global economies in a cost effective way.

The Distributed Energy Management Segment Leader, Eaton, Dirk Kaisers, stated the need for effective partnerships to achieve a successful energy transition, calling all hands to be on deck to get power to areas that do not have access to energy to improve their standard of living.

“We see new players coming into the game. We are working on critical infrastructure. There is also the need to have the right digital tools that can manage new infrastructure in the industry as the architecture is changing rapidly across the globe. We also need clear market regulations and rules that certainly incentivizes the right use of these critical infrastructure and assets,” he advised.

The Public Affairs and Policy Manager, National Grid ESO, Dipali Raniga, added that only one organisational initiative cannot get the world to net zero, pointing out that effective innovation, investment and planning have to work holistically to achieve the net zero target.

“It will take businesses, governments, each of us as citizens to really work together to make this happen in a way that best benefits the society,” she added.