Why solar water heaters are becoming so popular in Sub-Saharan Africa

solar water heaters

This article gives a clear view of why solar water heaters are widely used in Africa and how that will only increase in the coming years due to solar energy becoming cheaper and more accessible to high and low-income households across the continent. Africa receives more sunlight than any other continent making it just sensible to develop solar energy and make it easily accessible to the growing population.

The Africa’s solar energy theoretical assets of are projected at 60,000,000 terawatts-hours which makes up about 40% of the world’s total. There is no doubt that Africa is a sun-rich continent and has a lot of potential for clean solar energy. Governments across Africa are making it easier for their citizens to access solar energy while also making it cheaper and easily available to citizens. As portrayed in the image below.


According to studies by the world economic forum, renewables like solar energy were the world’s cheapest form of energy by the end of 2020. This makes solar water heaters cheap and accessible even to low-income households. The renewable sources and various government programs across Africa has made the solar water heater price drop making them easily accessible thus popular with most inhabitants of the continent.


Solar energy is renewable, unlike fossil fuels, meaning the energy comes from a constant natural source that cannot be depleted, the sun. This has made solar water heaters very popular in Africa since one only needs the initial investment to buy the equipment and once set up you get clean energy to heat your water free of charge every day from the sun.


Before the introduction of solar panels, most Africans used charcoal, gas, and electricity for their heating needs, all of which are dangerous and have caused multiple deaths from electric shock, fires, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Not to mention how expensive these forms of energy are. Solar water heaters have provided a much safer and cheaper way to heat water.


As mentioned before, Africa receives so much sunlight, that it accounts for about 40% of the world’s supply. Also, a good number of Africans don’t have access to electricity. This makes it extra convenient to use solar power in Africa. Even on cloudy days, some power is generated. This has made solar water heaters even more popular because sunlight is conveniently available throughout the year.


Unlike charcoal, solar energy is sustainable which means it is clean and safe, and renewable. This makes it preferred by most Africans since with solar energy you don’t need to clear more and more forests for firewood to burn or make charcoal. This makes it sustainable and environmentally friendly thereby increasing the popularity of solar water heaters amongst the inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa.

Reduces electric bill

Electricity is a more expensive form of energy. In Africa, most homes in rural areas don’t have access to the power grid hence no access to electricity. Solar power is used widely in these households. For those that have access to electricity, solar power is still a preferred choice because it greatly reduces the electric bill from the power that would have been used for heating.


In conclusion, solar heaters are not only a cheaper alternative, but they are also safer. It is something all African countries must consider adopting, since we receive sunlight all year round. Adopting solar energy will create a more sustainable Africa with cheaper energy. What more could we want?


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