Main content area

Barriers to Large-scale Solar Power in Tanzania

Aly, Ahmed, Moner-Girona, Magda, Szabó, Sándor, Pedersen, Anders Branth, Jensen, Steen Solvang
Energy for sustainable development 2019 v.48 pp. 43-58
experts, financial institutions, fossil fuels, interviews, politics, power plants, research institutions, solar energy, stakeholders, Tanzania
The Tanzanian official power system expansion plan shows a dominant dependence on fossil fuel-fired power plants till 2040. Hence identifying and analysing the underlying barriers for the deployment of large-scale renewables are essential. This study investigates the barriers to large-scale solar power in Tanzania. Key institutional, financial, and technological barriers are identified at different levels. The study uses a qualitative methodology where primary data is collected through 30 semi-structured interviews with experts representing the main electricity sector's stakeholders from public institutions, research institutions, private investors, civil society organizations, development partners, and financial institutions. A stakeholder-based approach which emphasizes the different perceptions of the stakeholder's groups is used to identify the barriers. Institutional barriers for the diffusion of large-scale solar power technologies are found to be predominant, and they often trigger financial and technological barriers. The study consolidates the view that foreign investment and aid directed to expand electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa need to be reshaped in order to be a driving force towards sustainable energy transition in the region. The study argues for the possibility to work on the compatible interests between the pro-renewables development partners and the Tanzanian government (which considers expanding electrification as a political priority) through introducing large-scale solar power projects that help in expanding electrification while being technically and financially supported by the development partners.