Solar technology and other off-grid solutions have brought power to about 60 million people over the last decade, but restrictions designed to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 slowed providers down, causing funding shortages and delays, researchers at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford wrote in a policy brief.
Access to affordable and reliable clean electricity services is critical in making communities less vulnerable to future climate and public health crises. The off-grid energy industry in East Africa has contributed to substantial progress and innovation in electrifying households and businesses. The impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threaten to deter this progress in East Africa and elsewhere. However, recovery during and after the pandemic also offers opportunities to position the off-grid energy industry in ways that can accelerate the role of the sector in addressing multiple development goals.
This policy brief suggests several sector-specific and society-wide areas for policy support to ensure that the momentum for off-grid can be harnessed now and in the future.