Can Southern Africa’s Interior Become a Prime Spot for Solar Energy?

Geographical and climate conditions make Southern Africa a great option to establish large-scale solar power plants and boost the economy of this sub-continent.

It’s always sunny in southern Africa, but the development of solar power facilities has been very slow over the years. 

Solar farms in South Africa account for only 2.5% of the total electricity generated.

However, according to The Conversation, now solar energy seems like a perfect solution for electricity shortages that are known to black out parts of the sub-continent. 

“So is southern Africa, and in particular its dry interior, really among the world’s best sites for solar energy generation, as is often claimed?”

Yes, the arid regions like the Namib, Kgalagadi, and Karoo have some of the driest climates, with minimum cloud cover. And yet there is much less dust than in many of the world’s arid regions like the Sahara and parts of central Asia.

In summer, the sun is nearly overhead at noon, while in winter, the panels need to be tilted just slightly towards the equator for maximum gains.  

Finally, a large portion of the region is 1000-2000 meters above sea level. This means there’s “less atmosphere” between the sun and the panels.

All these factors make southern Africa an ideal place for solar energy investment. The good news is that many new initiatives are popping up all over the region.


Nikola uses his background in electrical engineering to break down complex sustainability topics for GreenCitizen's readers. He is a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practices daily through recycling and home-grown food. He enjoys hiking, engaging in white-water sports, and collecting pocket knives.

GreenCitizen Newsletter

Our newsletters cover sustainable living guides, green product reviews, latest environmental issues, business practices, & more. Let’s get started.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *