Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: State of the Sector

The ‘State of the Sector’ report provides insights into key trends in the off-grid solar sector over the past two years, including business models, technologies, competitive landscape and funding.

The Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: State of The Sector report — the first in a two-part series published by the World Bank’s Lighting Global, the International Finance Corporation, GOGLA, Efficiency for Access Coalition, and Open Capital Advisors — shows that the off-grid solar industry remained resilient despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. Today, 490 million people are accessing energy through off-grid solar solutions, an 18% increase since 2019. However, 733 million people around the globe still do not have access to electricity.

Download the ‘State of the Sector’ full report or executive summary to learn the latest off-grid solar industry trends and insights, including on the competitive landscape, technological innovation, socioeconomic and environmental impacts, enabling environment and investment. The report also includes a core focus on the productive use of energy.

Key findings from the State of the Sector report, and more details about the Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report series, can also be found below. The second part of the Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: Outlook, will be launched on 18 October at the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo in Kigali, Rwanda.

Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: State of the Sector: Key Findings

  • The sector has proven more resilient than many expected when COVID-19 erupted, though some companies have struggled
    • Investments into the industry continued to grow, reaching over $2.3 billion since 2012. However, the majority of finance went to 7 companies operating at scale, while those in their seed and start-up phase have found attracting financing more difficult.

    • Sales of solar energy kits dropped 22% in 2020, but began to see growth again in 2021.

    • Rural homes and businesses make up the clear majority of off-grid solar customers, but the pandemic has accelerated a trend for companies to additionally service the sizable urban and weak grid markets.

  • Off-grid solar products help achieve a faster and more just clean energy transition, building the adaptive capacity and resilience of climate-vulnerable people
    • Governments and development partners have recognized the potential of off-grid solutions to power agriculture, enterprise, and healthcare.

    • Solar water pumps (SWPs) and solar cooling, seen as ‘emerging’ technologies two years ago, have rapidly matured and are now classified as ‘near-to-market’ – and are already improving food production and storage.

    • Over 10.5 million businesses are using solar energy kits to increase their income and productivity, while the industry itself is supporting over 370,000 green jobs.

  • For 55% of these households, off-grid solar will be the least-cost solution to gain basic electricity access in the next five years, but ability to pay is a continuing challenge
    • The number of people projected to be without access to electricity by 2030 has grown by 10 million when compared to pre-COVID levels.

    • The rise in access is not keeping pace with population growth, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa

    • Pay-as-you-go (PAYGo), or other consumer financing, is key to enabling families to access solar energy kits and productive use appliances.

    • There is growing recognition that more public funding will be needed to reach remote and lower-income customers, and to bridge affordability gaps.

    • ‘PAYGo everything’ is here: The PAYGo technology that unlocked consumer financing for solar energy is now being leveraged on a variety of electronic devices, and to offer digital financial services.

About the Market Trends Report

Every two years, the World Bank Group, through its Lighting Global program jointly with GOGLA, produces the Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report (MTR). Over the past decade, the biennial MTR has been the anchor of the Lighting Global/GOGLA franchise of market data and trends reports, which are the go-to source of sector information for investors, industry members, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the sector. The series includes semi-annual reports that track sales and impact results by country, region, and worldwide for VeraSol quality-verified and other branded solar devices sold by GOGLA affiliates. The MTR is where we step back and distil the main trends and offer an in-depth analysis of developments likely to have the largest impact on the future of the off-grid market and its contribution to electricity access targets

The 2022 report, which is the sixth edition, is split into two parts. The first report focuses on the ‘State of the Sector’ and provides insights into key trends in the off-grid solar sector over the past two years, including business models, technologies, competitive landscape and funding. The second report, ‘Outlook’ will profile the potential of the industry to help meet development goals and explores trends and drivers that must be enhanced and addressed to drive electricity access.

The product scope of the MTR has traditionally been solar energy kits, including household appliances. This time, it includes a substantive focus on the productive use of energy (PUE), in partnership with the Efficiency for Access Coalition.