But while sub-Saharan Africa remains in the dark, north African nations have been making major progress with power generation. Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco have invested tens of billions of dollars in renewable energy projects—particularly solar power—as a springboard to drive their energy ambitions. By harnessing the power of the Saharan sun, these countries hope to not only bring down the cost of solar technology, but also scale it for larger use, enhance energy security, create cleaner environments, and boost the creation of new business opportunities.

Once operational, projects like the TuNur solar project in Tunisia, will open a new, intercontinental energy corridor between north Africa and Europe by delivering power to homes in Italy and France. The $10.7 billion, 2500 megawatts project will use a high-voltage direct current to connect to European grids as far away as the UK. Similarly, the Noor Ouarzazate complex in Morocco, considered the world’s largest solar plant, is expected for completion in 2018 for a total cost of $9 billion. The 150 MW Kuraymat solar power field in Egypt, which was built in 2010, already supplies nearly 2 million people with power.

Morocco: 100% Access
Morocco is among the top electrified countries in Africa, achieving a 100% national electricity access rate for both its rural and urban populations. Located in north Africa and bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, Morocco represents a high potential renewable energy market, particularly regarding solar. With plans to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 52% for wind and solar by 2030, major developments are currently underway.

Tunisia: 100% Access
Covering all of its domestic consumption needs, Tunisia boasts 100% national electricity access for both rural and urban areas. The north African country predominantly generates its electricity from natural gas and is on track for long-term investment in renewable energy, targeting a 30% share of renewables by 2023.

Algeria: 99.8% Access
With a 99.8% national electricity access rate – 99.6% in rural areas and 99.9% in urban areas ­– Algeria ranks among some of the top electrified countries in Africa. Natural gas accounts for 96% of the country’s installed capacity with the remaining 4% sourced from a combination of oil, solar, hydropower and wind.