Ministry Ponders Tax Waivers for Rural Energy Solutions

May 18 , 2024


  Tax exemptions for off-grid energy technologies like solar pumps and mini-grids are under discussion, spearheaded by the Ministry of Water & Energy. Commonly used by rural households, officials disclose their simultaneous plan to develop 300 mini-grids in the next six years. According to Birhanu Weldu, the lead executive of rural energy technology development, the initiative tackles the country's low electrification rate and reliance on charcoal and firewood. Charcoal, fuel wood, and agricultural wastes provide more than 86.8pc of rural household energy in Ethiopia, compounding energy shortages with a national electrification rate below 50pc. He revealed the plans during a panel discussion last week at the Capital Hotel on Haile Gebreselassie St. Tewabech Worqu, secretary of the Ethiopian Solar Products Suppliers Association, said existing legal and administrative frameworks have made it difficult for rural households to access solar solutions. Panellists also indicated a pervasive lack of awareness in rural farming communities of the potential benefits of solar pumps for using groundwater available at shallow depths throughout the country. Hiwote Teshome, manager of SNV Ethiopia, which works in agri-food, energy, and water systems, said business models that allow rural communities to access solar solutions through cooperative arrangements need to be developed.


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