African Renewable Energies

Significant progress has been made in the past several years within JRC in collecting, organizing and providing renewable energy data for the African continent. Our activities are in line with the current international political momentum around access to energy, support the goals of the United Nations' initiative of Sustainable Energy for All and Sustainable Development Goals contribute to the expected outcomes from the Africa-Europe Energy Partnership regarding the promotion of sustainable and renewable energy, improved electrification rates and improved technical capacity in Africa.


Our current activities cover the following topics:

  • Renewable energy resource assessment, monitoring and mapping;
  • Data collection, database harmonization and integration with a special focus on geographically referenced information, making them available for download whenever possible (see ‘Spatial analysis and modellingsection);
  • Development of decision making support tools mostly web-based (see PVGIS website and ‘RE²nAF ’ section);
  • Support African academia through the establishment of scientific networks (see ‘Networking’ section);
  • Design and execution of regional trainings on the state-of-the-art rural electrification technologies (see ‘Capacity building’ section);
  • Collaboration with international organisations such as ECREEE-ECOWAS (Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency- Economic Community Of West African States), IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), ERRA (European Regulators Regional Association), AREA (African Renewable Energy Alliance), SANSA (South African National Space Agency), etc. (see ‘Collaborations’ section);
  • Share scientific findings through the publication of both science and policy reports and peer-reviewed papers in recognized scientific journals (see ‘Publications and Dissemination’ section).


The JRC has long been active in many thematic fields of research concerning Africa (forest monitoring, water management, environmental risk etc.), but a consistent and focused effort directed to analyzing the challenges and the opportunities offered by Renewable Energies to that continent  just started in 2008

At that time, some work on the promotion of renewable energies in developing countries was performed in the framework of support to the Photovoltaic Technology Platform's working group "Developing Countries". One outcome was the publication of the report on 'Renewable Energy Regulated Purchase Tariff: a New Financial Scheme for the Promotion of Renewable Energies in Developing Countries’

In 2010, this field of research became a JRC core activity as a result of the implementation of the project entitled 'Scientific and Technical Support to Sustainable Energy Development in Africa: Rural Electrification, Renewable Energy and Communication (RENAF)’ (Officially an Administrative Arrangement implemented by JRC-IET under request of DG DEVCO). Even if RENAF came to an end in 2013, most of the activities initiated under its umbrella are still active and are now part of the multi annual work programme of the JRC’s Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit.

1) Renewable energies in Africa – Current knowledge.