Lithium Base Batteries and the Off-Grid Sector

22 January 2021

The Off-Grid Solar (OGS) sector in Africa is growing rapidly thanks to falling costs, combined with improvements in the energy efficiency of end-use technologies. A recent World Bank Group and GOGLA report shows that the off-grid solar industry has become a $1.75 billion annual market providing access to 420 million customers in Africa. While the industry is rapidly developing new solutions, investors and companies are working tackle the growing sustainability challenges, particularly in terms of end-of-life management.

This white paper supplies donors working in the sector with a clearer understanding of the most significant issues at play when it comes to batteries in off-grid solar (OGS) sector. We take a look at current lithium-ion technologies, market drivers and their relevance to the OGS sector, as well as the state of-art lithium-ion recycling technology. Through our on-the-ground experience working with donors, companies and various stakeholders we then suggest how the OGS sector can improve end-of-life management for pico-solar and solar home systems (SHS).

At Sofies, we deliver impact and to that end, we have decided to make this information publicly available to assist the OGS sector’s efforts in making a sustainable industry for the long-term.

We would like to say a big thank you to Gergana Dimitrova and Christian Clemm, who brought cutting edge technical expertise on batteries from the German research organisation, Fraunhofer. Dr Harini Hewadewage also brought invaluable scientific knowledge and practical lessons on battery procurement in the off-grid sector.



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