Tanzania has a high and mostly untapped potential for renewable energy sources. The only resource significantly in use is hydropower at a large scale. Additionally, small hydropower has good potential and is particularly feasible in rural areas. Biomass resources are mostly exploited in traditional, but unsustainable ways though there remains great potential due to large amounts of organic waste generated from the agricultural sector. Solar energy is abundant with initial efforts being undertaken to exploit this resource through both off-grid and grid-connected solutions. Wind resources have been assessed with results showing promise with plans for developments underway. The World Bank is mapping renewable energy resources within their ESMAP Programme.
Tanzania has promising levels of solar energy, ranging between 2,800 and 3,500 hours of sunshine per year and a global horizontal radiation of 4–7 kWh per m2 per day. Solar radiation is particularly high in the central region of the country.
To date, about 6 MW of solar off-grid PV has been installed countrywide. PV installations are generally used at villages, schools, hospitals, health centers, police stations, small telecommunications enterprises and households, as well as for lighting, street lighting and basic electricity needs. The government, through the REA and various donors, has supported a number of solar PV expansion programs. One grid-connected PV plant has been commissioned to date. The 1 MW-plant produces about 1,800 MWh/year. The potential for grid-connected solar PV is estimated to amount to 800 MW.
In the short-term, the Power System Master Plan (PSPM) 2007-2031 envisages the construction of 120 MW of PV capacity by 2018. Several private companies have expressed interest in developing 50–100 MW solar plants.