Solar Saving Angola’s Oil

The population of the Republic of Angola is approximately 33.20 million people[1]. In 2018, 43.3% of the people in this country located on the west coast of Southern Africa had  access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Angola’s economy was ranked 66th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of oil, natural gas, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, and gold.

In 2016, Angola signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], making an unconditional commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2030, compared to business as usual. Angola made a conditional commitment to reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 with international support of U.S. $15 billion to develop new hydropower and wind projects.

In 2018, Angola’s state-owned electric company, Empresa de Electricidade de Luanda (EDEL) used renewable energy (64%), oil (24%), and natural gas (12%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropower is the dominant source of renewable energy in Angola.

Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Waters estimates the country has significant renewable energy potential, including 16,300 MW from solar, 3,900 MW from onshore wind, and 18,000 MW of hydropower. The government has begun to develop small-scale off-grid renewable technologies to provide electricity to rural areas of the country.

American renewable energy company, Sun Africa and Portuguese multinational company, MCA Group have begun work on a massive solar project in Angola. The project will build solar photo-voltaic arrays across the country which will have a total capacity of 950 MW.

The first stage of this massive project will be to build a 188 MW solar power plant in the town of Biópio, which is located approximately 320 miles southeast of Angola’s capital, Luanda. Six other solar power plants will then be built, after the project in Biópio is completed.

Why is Angola actively developing new renewable energy? Economics pure and simple.  The Angolan government’s goal is to use renewable energy for domestic power, while preserving oil and natural gas for foreign export.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”




[1] Angola Population (2020) –  November 4, 2020

[2] Angola – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] Angola Energy –

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