Solar Innovation Powers Sustainable Energy Access in Africa

Richenda Van Leeuwen, Executive director of ANDE, and a global expert on alternative energy, emphasized the immense potential for innovation in solar power during her participation at Sankalp Africa 2024.

While solar panels, LED lights, and battery systems are now widely used, Van Leeuwen stressed the need and opportunity to push boundaries in this critical sector.

One exciting area of exploration is the intersection of agriculture and energy generation, exemplified by “Agrivoltaics.” This innovative approach integrates solar panels with agricultural practices, enabling activities like crop growing, solar chilling, and operating solar greenhouses, all within the same space.

Additionally, advancements in solar-powered appliances, including DC-powered mills for the agricultural sector and domestic appliances like electric cookers and washing machines, hold immense promise for sustainable living.

Recognizing the vast potential, ANDE actively supports a range of solar solution providers across East Africa and beyond at both early and growth stages. Partnering with member organizations like New Energy Nexus, which offers innovative financing solutions through its Ugandan entity, Enventure, our network plays a crucial role in facilitating access to solar power for underserved communities.

With over 600 million Africans lacking access to reliable electricity, the market for off-grid and grid-tied renewable energy solutions remains substantial. Expanding access to these solutions will not only address energy poverty but also contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Africa.

ANDE’s support extends beyond entrepreneurs, encompassing the incubators, business development providers, and accelerators that empower them. The organization strives to accelerate progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals 7 (affordable and clean energy) and 13 (climate action) by providing access to capital and tailored business support across the entire ecosystem.