Last edited: August 2018
The potential for solar power in Tanzania is high. Approximately only 33% of the Tanzanian population has access to electricity. This combined with a continually growing population and expanding economy, the country has a large unexploited market. At the same time, Tanzania has abundant energy resources. These range from biomass and fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro and solar power. The location of Tanzania near the equator gives it the high solar potential. The other favorable geological and meteorological factors also support this statement. Tanzania has the potential for using solar power to generate electricity, both on-grid and off-grid.
Tanzania gets plenty of sunshine in an average year, ranging between 2800 and 3500 hours. With the horizontal solar radiation being between 4 and 7 kWh per m² (each day), Tanzania is naturally suited for using solar power to generate high amounts of electricity. Let us illustrate this with an example of Spain. The estimation of Tanzania's resources suitable for solar power generation is equivalent to those of such a country. The solar radiation is highest in the center region of Tanzania. This means the potential for off-grid solar power in rural areas is especially high.
For an overview of city-specific solar irradiation in Tanzania, you can consult the table below. It shows solar data for the ten largest cities in Tanzania.
Ten Tanzanian Cities' Solar Irridation
|City||Sunhours (kWh/m2/day)||Solar Production|
|Minimum available insolation in 3-day period (worst month)|
|1||Dar es Salaam||5.5 / 5.2||1550||8.8% (mar)|
|2||Mwanza||5.9 / 5.4||1700||25.6% (oct)|
|3||Arusha||5.3 / 5.6||1580||32.3% (jun)|
|4||Dodoma||6.3 / 6.1||1800||40.7% (dec)|
|5||Mbeya||5.7 / 6.1||1770||43.9% (dec)|
|6||Morogoro||5.1 / 5.3||1510||29.3% (feb)|
|7||Tanga||5.7 / 5.6||1620||19.6% (apr)|
|8||Kahama||6.0 / 5.6||1720||33.1% (oct)|
|9||Tabora||6.2 / 6.0||1770||36.7% (oct)|
|10||Stonetown (Zanzibar)||5.6 / 5.2||1580||23.5% (feb)|
© 2017 The World Bank, Solar resource data: Solargis. Globalsolaratlas.info
As the maps below of Tanzania and the world show, the photovoltaic (PV) power potential, which expresses to what degree solar PV panels can be used to generate electricity, is indeed promising for Tanzania. While not the highest in the world, it is much more than the requirement for solar PV technology to operate well and to generate good amounts of electricity. Most importantly, the high solar insolation rate means that PV panels are more likely to have efficient outcomes in terms of their cost (purchase, installation and maintenance) versus electricity generation capacity.
Image 1: Solar resource map of power potential in the world
Image 2: Solar resource map of potential in Tanzania
Below, you can find an interactive map which complements the above solar insolation maps. The tool below shows the locations of the national grid and all separate mini grids (running on various sources of energy) in Tanzania. As visible, the central region with the highest solar insolation rate is also the least connected to any of these sources of electricity. In such areas, there is not only potential for solar mini grids or even utility scale (national grid-connected) solar power systems. There is also potential for independent solar home systems.