Cheaper, faster, cleaner

If the world is to succeed in providing energy to all and at the same time avoid climate change, we must invest in distributed solar energy.


A report written for ZERO, Solenergiklyngen and Norwegian Church Aid shows that such solutions are faster, cheaper and cleaner - and propose concrete policies to speed up the rollout.  

You can find the report here: CHEAPER, FASTER CLEANER 

Secure access to energy is crucial for people to get out of poverty. It provides new income opportunities; it will free up a lot of working time and it will provide significant health benefits. It is important that this energy comes from renewables. In this way, solar energy can satisfy many needs at the same time. 

The report shows that emission-free off-grid solutions are very suitable for those who do not have access to electricity. The total cost is far lower than building a grid, especially for the sections of the population that want a moderate power consumption. The off-grid solutions are faster to install, and you thus get faster social and economic development for more. This type of solution also provides far lower emissions of greenhouse gases since they can be 100% renewable. Today's emissions from kerosene and diesel can thus be cut faster. 

Far more energy-efficient electrical items, cheaper solar and battery and options for repayment via mobile phone, means that distributed solar today can offer completely different solutions than a few years ago. There is a bustling private business community in off-grid energy solutions, and there are also several Norwegian companies that develop innovative solutions. 

- Norway has a long history of cooperation with developing countries on electrification with hydropower and network construction. But the authorities must see that the energy landscape is changing, and that Norway also has a unique competence in solar power and digitalisation. When you combine this with deliveries of the world's purest silicon, we can build a strong Norwegian solar industry, which can contribute with new solutions, says Trine Kopstad Berentsen, general manager of the Solar Energy Cluster. 

Donors and national authorities are willing to cover most of the costs of supplying power, but the level of support for this type of solution is low. Every kroner in public support has a far greater effect, if you facilitate the business community that today invests in off-grid solutions. The large grid developments that are planned will also increase climate emissions since the share of renewables in most poor countries will be low for a long time. 

The report provides several suggestions on how public funds can be used in a smart way to accelerate further investment in off-grid solar. One of the proposals is a guaranteed scheme to increase creditworthiness and provide access to cheaper capital, and a new mechanism for dealing with the risk of non-payment.