Reducing carbon intensity has proved to be a major challenge for economies around the world such that solar, wind, and biomass energy are increasingly becoming relevant. The first, solar energy, has assumed prominence as an alternative source of energy over the last decade, particularly after experiences of the turmoil in the oil markets in the mid seventies in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., but in developing countries, millions still lack access to electricity, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where biomass contributes a very high proportion of energy needs.
What is clear from evidence on the ground, however, is that Africa is heavily endowed with solar energy potential. For instance, Kenya has irradiation levels that are higher than those of the world's biggest solar market, Germany, but Kenya still relies largely on hydro-electric power and fossil fuels, circumscribing other energy sources to the periphery since their use in cooking and heating is limited. Despite this dim outlook, there is an installed solar energy capacity of well over 10MWp countrywide and the number of homes with solar systems are about 300,000.
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