Yes, depending on what you mean by “significant.” Solar power is an attractive option for Africa because of the availabilty of year-round sunlight through most of the continent, and also the energy savings that make cheap solar systems such as passive solar construction more economical there than in first-world countries. Probably the country that is doing the best with solar power in Africa right now is Zimbabwe. An initiative funded throuhg the United Nations Develoment Programme installed over 9,000 solar systems throughout Zimbabwe, such as at Shamva (near Harare) where 52 commercial farmers share solar systems that power household lights and other small appliances. It may not sound like much, but in a place like rural Zimbabwe this can have a huge effect on quality of life. For instance, school children learn more because they can read and study longer hours with artificial light. In a country where less than 20% of the people have electricity from any source, much less solar power, this is a large step forward. Several programs are underway to develop solar projects in Africa in places like Tanzania, Rwanda and the Congo.
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