Africa is a sunlight rich continent and is a home of some of the top sunniest countries in the world due to its geographical location near to the equator.
This continent is located between latitudes of 37 degrees North to 35 degrees South with the Equator, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn lines passing through it.
It lies in both hemispheres (Northern hemisphere and Southern hemisphere) and the major portion of this continent is spanning around the equator.
Although all the countries in this continent receive good sunlight and have high solar potential with attractive financial feasibility, some countries that are sunniest among others.
Interestingly, these countries are slightly away from the equator, contradicting the fact that the equator receives the maximum sunlight.
There is a reason behind it!
The Congo Basin, the basin of river Congo, has a total area of around 4 million square km (slightly more than the sum of the areas of India and Somalia).
This basin surrounds the equator and the river crossing the equator twice.
The sunlight creates a heavy cloud cover over the equator which in turn blocks the sunlight from reaching the land surface.
whereas, the areas slightly away from the equator are free from this phenomenon.
Hence, the equator receives less sunlight compared to the locations away from it.
Let us start the countdown:
6. Libya: 5.57 Peak Sun Hours
Libya is located in North Africa and its capital is Tripoli.
The major portion of this country lies in the Sahara desert.
The climate of Libya is majorly dominated by the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean sea in the North.
The coordinates of Libya are 26.33° N and 17.22° E and it is surrounded by Mediterranean sea in the North, bordering Algeria in the West, bounded by Egypt from East, Niger and Chad are covering it from the South.
If I talk about the amount of solar radiations then it receives an annual daily average of 5.57 kWh/m^2/day, making it on the list of 6th sunniest countries in the continent.
Let's check out the solar radiation chart:
Although, the 3 months June, July and August receive solar radiations of more than 7 kWh/m^2/day, the month of July is the one that receives the maximum sunlight of 7.6 kWh/m^2/day.
December is the month of minimum sunlight of 3.3 kWhr/m^2/day in this country.
A difference of 4.3 kWh/m^2/day between the month of maximum and minimum sunlight.
5. Somalia: 5.61 Peak Sun Hours
Somalia (capital: Mogadishu) is the eastern-most country of Africa and it is surrounded by Gulf of Aden on North, Indian ocean on East, Kenya on South-west, Ethiopia on West and Djibouti on North-west.
Its coordinates are: 5.15° N and 46.19° E and is near to the equator but far away by around 1800 miles from the Congo basin.
It stands at 5th position as the top sunniest countries in Africa with average solar radiations of 5.61 kWh/m^2/day.
February is the month with maximum sunlight of 7.3 kWh/m^2/day and June receives the minimum sunlight of 4.3 kWh/m^2/day, making it a difference of 3 kWh/m^2/day between the maximum and the minimum values.
4. Kenya: 5.61 Peak Sun Hours
Kenya is located in east Africa and it is bisected by the Equator line.
Its capital Nairobi is at an altitude of 1700 meters from the sea level.
It has low lying area along the coastal line of Indian ocean and mountains and plateaus at its center.
It is bounded by Ethiopia in the North, Uganda (North-west), Sudan in the West, Tanzania in the South, and Indian ocean in the East.
Kenya is at the 4th place with an average of 5.61 kWh/m^2/day.
The sunniest months are January and February, latter receiving the maximum sunlight of 6.8 kWh/m^2/day and the least amount of sunlight in the month of June which is 4.7 kWh/m^2/day.
*Although both countries Kenya and Somalia receive equal amount of sunlight (5.61 kWh/m^2/day) but difference in the maximum and the minimum values of sunlight (2.1 kWh/m^2/day) is less in the case of Kenya, meaning more uniform sunlight as compared to that in Somalia where the difference between the 2 extremes is 3 kWh/m^2/day.
Hence Kenya is placed at higher slot.
3. Ethiopia: 5.73 Peak Sun Hours
a) Capital: Addis Abeba
b) Coordinates: 9.14° N and 40.48° E
c) Total Sun Peak Hours in a year; 2091
It receives an average of 5.7 kWh/m^2/day of sunlight throughout the year.
November to February are the sunniest months in this country and November being the most sunniest among all with average sunlight of 7.1 kWh/m^2/day.
July receives the minimum sunlight of 4.2 kWh/m^2/day.
2. Sudan & Eritrea: 6.1 Peak Sun Hours
The number 2 position is a tie shared by 2 neighboring countries Sudan and Eritrea with an average solar radiations of 6.1 kWh/m^2/day.
Both the countries lie between 2 tropics that are Equator and Tropic of Cancer.
January: 7.04 kWh/m^2/day (Maximum Sunlight)
July: 4.6 kWh/m^2/day (Minimum)
1. Egypt: 6.8 Peak Sun Hours
Egypt, the land of Great Pyramids, is at the top in my list and it is the sunniest country in Africa with an average solar radiations of 6.8 kWh/m^2/day.
The Tropic of Cancer passes through the bottom of this country and its coordinates are 26.82° N and 30.80° E
Its neighbors are:
This sunlight rich country receives more than 7 kWh/m^2/day of sunlight from March to September in a year.
August is the month with the maximum sunlight of 7.5 kWh/m^2/day whereas December receives the minimum of 5.5 kWh/m^2/day.
Solar energy has high potential in Africa and installing solar power systems in these top sunlight rich countries is very much feasible and financially rewarding.