By: Kebba AF Touray
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy Rohey Bittaye Darboe, has said that Government has set a target to connect one third of the rural population through off grid solutions by 2030, which include a mini-grid and standalone home system.
Mrs Bittaye Darboe made the statement on Tuesday October 15th 2019 during the validation of the Regional Off Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) report on the Off Grid Solar Market Assessment and Private Sector Facility Design Report for 2019.
She said ROGEP is helping nineteen countries in West Africa and the Sahel to accelerate the deployment of standalone solar PV Systems in off grid areas and to increase electricity access by stimulating both public and private sector investment in rural electrification.
“Energy has long played and will continue to play a strategic role in the growth and functioning of the world’s economy. Access to electricity is a prerequisite for the establishment of new businesses and expansion of existing ones. It provides a platform for employment creation, social development and economic growth. The availability of a reliable electricity supply that is efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly, is one of the corner stones of the Gambia Government’s development aspirations for the energy sector,” She said; that in keeping with the global energy transition towards renewable energy systems, Government through the Energy Ministry is committed to promoting the issue of Off Grid solutions including standalone home systems as a necessary vehicle to provide electricity access to those communities beyond the reach of the national power grid; that for this target to be met, there is need for right market conditions by putting in place effective quality assurance frameworks and developing financial support and de-risking mechanisms for the private sector.
She continued that following stakeholder consultations and engagements in 2017 on ROGEP, a market assessment on Off Grid Solar PV for the Gambia was conducted as part of the preparatory phase of ROGEP.
This, she said, was aimed at assessing the market for Off Grid Solar systems and to recommend the most realistic market based mechanisms and financial support that will lead to the scaling up of electricity access using solar technologies driven by the private sector.