#Article (Archive)

Gambia’s off-grid solar market assessment validated

Oct 23, 2019, 3:24 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

(Friday 18 October 2019 Issue)

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MoPE) on Tuesday validated the off-grid solar market assessment report for The Gambia organised as part of the preparatory phase of the Regional Off-grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) funded by the World Bank and Clean Technology Fund and implemented by the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) together with West African Development Bank.

The ROGEP is supporting The Gambia and 18 other countries in West Africa and the Sahel, to accelerate the development of standalone solar PV systems in off-grid areas to increase electricity access by stimulating both public and private sector investments in rural electrification.

The objective of the study is to assess the market for off-grid solar systems and recommend the most realistic market-based mechanism(s) that will lead to scaling up access using solar technologies by the private sector.

In her opening statement on behalf of the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Rohey Bittaye-Darboe Permanent Secretary at MoPE said energy has long played, and continue to play a strategic role in the growth and functioning of the world’s economy.

Mrs. Bittaye-Darboe described access to electricity as a prerequisite for the establishment of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones, providing the platform for employment creation, social development and economic growth.

“The availability of reliable electricity supply that is efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly is one of the cornerstones of the Gambia Government’s development aspirations for the energy sector,’’ she said that, keeping with the global energy transition towards renewable energy systems, the government is committed to promoting the use of off-grid solutions including standalone home systems as a necessary vehicle to provide electricity access to those communities beyond the reach of the grid.

According to her, as part of their strategy for universal electricity access, the Gambia government has set a target to connect one-third of the rural population through off-grid solutions by 2030, which includes mini-grids and standalone home systems but was quick to add that this target cannot be readily achieved without establishing the right market conditions, putting in place an effective quality assurance framework and developing financial support and de-risking mechanisms for the private sector.

Sire Abdoul Diallo, ECREEE representative for his part said it is important to understand the framework conditions to ensure interventions are in line with close existing conditions and are able to change the course.

He expressed their readiness to work with The Gambia in ensuring the report reflects everybody’s views and realities on the ground, adding that they hope the project will be able to address issues The Gambia face in terms of electrification.

While in The Gambia, Mr Moore is also expected to visit Rotary projects that have been carried out by the members of Rotary Clubs in The Gambia for the public.

These projects include the Science lab in Kanifing and the Wash Project and Diabetic Foot Center in Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.

Mr Moore will also visit Bundung Maternal and Child Hospital to learn firsthand the effects of malaria on pregnant women and children under 5 years old in The Gambia.

Rotary International is an international non-governmental, non-profit humanitarian service organisation which has over 3,500 Rotary clubs worldwide and a membership of 1.2 million individuals known as Rotarians.

Its goal is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. Rotary’s key focus areas include promoting peace; fight diseases; provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene; save mothers and children, support education and grow local economies.