Sierra Leone’s Off-Grid Appliance Market, While Nascent, Shows Promising Potential
Sierra Leone has one of the lowest electrification rates of any country in Africa. As of 2018, only 26% of the population is connected to the grid; in rural areas, grid connections are as low as 6%. In an effort to improve national electrification rates, the Government of Sierra Leone has adopted several policies to prioritize and promote decentralized solar energy solutions. Despite these efforts, the prevalence of solar home systems and off-grid appliances remains low.
Insufficient data about the quality and performance of off- and weak-grid appropriate appliances hinders the ability of market actors to make informed purchases, investments, and policy decisions, making it difficult to deliver high-performing solutions to consumers.
In 2018, Efficiency for Access began conducting market scoping surveys in 10 countries, including Sierra Leone. The Off- and Weak Grid Appliance Market Country Profile for Sierra Leone sheds light on the market like never before. The profile summarises data collected through market scoping surveys conducted in local retail shops, testing results of products sampled from the market in Sierra Leone, and interviews with interviewed a range of stakeholders, including members of government, renewable energy businesses, donors, non-governmental organizations and large electrical shops.
Findings from market surveys and interviews suggest the off-grid appliance market in Sierra Leone is nascent. The availability of off-grid appliances is limited due to the low penetration of solar home system kits and limited access to credit for consumers and companies. Raising consumer awareness about the long-term benefits of solar technologies, incentivizing manufacturers and distributors to offer a wider array of off-grid products, and extending product warranties can help the market mature to its potential.