The potential of solar and storage in sub-Saharan Africa
Across the world, interest has been growing around Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) as a fundamental gearwheel of the energy transition towards a renewable-based power system. In an upcoming webinar on 20 April, SolarPower Europe in collaboration with GET.invest, will explore the current state of play of the solar & storage business case in Sub-Saharan Africa, including the competitiveness vis-à-vis conventional energy resources and the related policy framework, and discuss the barriers that pose a challenge to its deployment.
By providing flexibility, firmness and fast balancing services, BESS technologies provide all the conditions that are vital for maximising the integration of high shares of variable renewable energy sources (VRES), as well as the grid integration of electric transport.
From a power system perspective, BESS technologies bring significant benefits, including:
- Injecting and absorbing electricity extremely fast (<50 ms) and with higher accuracy than conventional generators, to provide power system reliability services;
- Smoothening short-term variability and fluctuations in the grid to reduce grid operating costs and costs of stand-by generation facilities
- fostering the penetration of higher shares of renewables in the power system;
- Eliminating production and load peaks, reducing network costs and investment needs;
- Making renewable electricity fully dispatchable, optimising the supply of solar and wind energy in line with the power system needs;
- Storing electricity when prices are low, and using it when prices are high, allowing energy prices to stabilise;
- Rebooting grid operations in the event of power outage.
The provision of such grid reliability services and more energy independence are aspects that are particularly relevant in the Sub-Saharan African context, where issues of grid stability and availability remain major challenges. Considering the large synergies between solar and storage, massive investments in solar energy are expected in the African continent in the coming years and this constitutes a precious opportunity for the deployment of battery storage systems at all scales in a cost-effective manner.