Expert Voices

How to finance expanded access to off-grid solar power

A man adjusts a solar panel on his roof at dusk in the villqge of Kwa-Mutisya in Machakos county, some 100 kilometres southeast of Nairobi, on November 16, 2016.
A man adjusts a solar panel on his roof in Kwa-Mutisya, Kenya. Across the continent people are opting for off-grid solar solutions. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

For the more than 1 billion people without reliable electricity access, advances in off-grid solar (OGS) solutions present significant promise: A recent World Bank report showed that by 2017 the global OGS sector was providing improved energy access to an estimated 73 million households.

Yes, but: Half of the projected $5.7 billion for OGS to hit its full potential from 2017 to 2022 still needs to be raised. While established multilateral and commercial financiers are expected to partially fill this gap, new financial innovations that tap less traditional investors also show strong potential to help meet the sector’s growing needs.