EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Comparison of PV potential models for africa and their potential cost implications.

Arnold Wasike and Catherina Cader
Arnold Wasike and Catherina Cader
  • Reiner Lemoine Institute, Off-Grid, Germany (

We currently have more than 7500 planned mini grids, most of them in Africa. These will soon connect more than 27 million people and cost about 12 billion dollars [1]. Africa is in a good position for Photo voltaic (PV) mini grid optimization, receiving more than 1800 KWh/m2 Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI) every year [2], for most parts of the continent. However, the lack of a coordinated renewable energy monitoring and distribution network works against optimization of PV potential models [3]. This study shows the accuracy of existing photo voltaic potential estimators like renewables ninja [3], the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the global solar atlas [2], by comparing the modeled values with long term measurements from ground solar stations. This is done for more than 20 stations distributed over Africa. Our results show best correlations [4] of up to 65.3% from version 2 of the Surface Radiation Data Set from Heliosat (SARAH) derived from the Photovoltaic Geographical Information System (PVGIS). However, we also have correlations as low as 16.2% for models commonly used in off grid simulations. The sensitivities of the modeled cost of a mini grid to the variation in PV potential were tested [5][6] using the statistical range in sourced PV potential from the different estimators, giving us cost variation of more than 2.8% that may arise from the different sources.


1. World Bank, ESMAP - Mini grids for half a billion people


3. doi: 10.1016/

4. Wikipedia contributors. (2021, January 7). Pearson correlation coefficient. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:00, January 20, 2021, from

5. Cader. 2018

5. Hoffmann. 2019


How to cite: Wasike, A. and Cader, C.: Comparison of PV potential models for africa and their potential cost implications., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7386,, 2021.

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