Last edited: July 2018

Solar power is a growing sector in Tanzania. The country has abundant clean energy resources, including wind, hydro and solar, of which the latter has witnessed the fastest growth over the past years. As of 2016, solar is in fact the dominant electricity source in rural areas, which are often unconnected to the national grid. In Tanzania, communities, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, international organizations and the government work together to strengthen the solar sector and improve its accessibility as part of expanding electricity access in the country.  


The solar sector in Tanzania consists of different segments. Most installations use solar photovoltaic (PV) power to generate electricity, which is then used to power electronic devices found in households, community buildings and businesses. In addition to powering electric appliances, solar is an often-used source for lighting systems. Another application of solar power which is seen in Tanzania is the pumping, heating and cleaning of water. This technique is especially valuable for agricultural use.

Market Growth

The growth of the national solar market has led to high imports of solar products into the country. On the other hand, it has also resulted in a rapid growth of local solar businesses. Their activities range from producing or assembling panels and more specialized products (such as solar home systems) to wholesale and retailing. The growth of the sector has created thousands of jobs, including engineering and technical maintenance positions. The demand has also led to a surge in (micro)financing opportunities, although securing finance for projects remains to be the Achilles' heel of the sector.


Despite its growth, the solar sector is facing several limitations. Access to finance is probably the most prominent factor. In addition, limited market and product regulation has led to circulation of sub-standard products. Proper maintenance of installed systems has also proven to be a challenge, especially in rural areas.

A Closer Look

The following data* provide a closer look at the Tanzanian solar sector:

Image 1: Basic facts about electricity in Tanzania

Four facts on energy and electricity in Tanzania

Image 2: Kinds of electricity access in Tanzania

Image 3: Amount of connections per region in Tanzania

Graph of energy access and the distribution of different contributors
Map of Energy Access in Tanzania per district

Image 4: Percentage of population with access to electricity