A particular irony in the process of adopting renewable technologies is that the locations, which are most suited to the introduction of solar and wind energy sources, are those which face the greatest barriers to implementation. Many of these are developing nations in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. While these markets don’t appear immediately comparable as they are geographically disparate, what they do all have in common is great potential in terms of renewable energy. This potential, however, is currently being wasted.
For example, Africa is exposed to 40% of the world’s total solar irradiation, but total photovoltaic solar capacity installed across the continent represents just 0.7% of the global total. Strong sea winds mean that the Caribbean and islands in the Pacific are perfectly suited to drawing power from wind sources, but the total wind power capacity installed in these regions is a mere 4.2% of the global total, according to the World Energy Council.
It’s clear that much more could be done to capitalise on these renewable energy sources.
In this article I will explore the key barriers to renewable adoption in developing markets, and how embracing a mobile, modular approach to power supply can help end users overcome them.
One of the first hurdles to overcome is the financing of renewable energy production. The capital expenditure required for renewable power plants can discourage investment in these assets, in settings where private capital is already difficult to attract to large-scale infrastructure projects.
It is therefore essential to demonstrate to decision-makers that investment in renewable assets can be cost effective. We recently surveyed energy purchasers from around the world, with 50% of those we spoke to saying that cost is their primary consideration when comparing different power providers.