By: Matthew Silvester – JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd’s Director for Middle East & Africa
Matthew Silvester was appointed as JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd’sDirector for Middle East & Africa in April 2012. He says JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. was formed in 2006 in China. The company aimed to provide one-stop solution of clean energy and become the industry leader. And their vision is to deliver the cleanest, most efficient and economic solar energy solutions for a sustainable future.
JinkoSolar produced ingots at first. In 2009, it began to move its business focus to solar cell and module manufacturing. In 2010, Jinko was listed in NYSE successfully. In 2011, Jinko reached 1GW capacity and become the 6th world largest solar pv companies and the only Chinese solar company achieving annual profit. In 2012, JinkoSolar secured its leading position with No. 1 market share in Italy and South Africa, No. 2 in China and France, No. 4 in Germany and with its 13 offices built up across the world. In 2013, JinkoSolar expanded its capacity to 1.5GW, and became the first solar company achieving profit in Q2, 2013.
According to Silvester, Jinko has been very successful in Africa and the Middle East, particularly in South Africa which has the most developed Feed in Program on the continent with 2 rounds or 1.1GW already awarded and a further 450MW expected in August 2013.Africa has been hit with electricity problem for decades with more that 80 percent population living without a reliable source of electricity, says, Matthew Silvester, JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltddirector for Middle East & Africa.f.
According to Silvester, the energy problem has affected the Africa economy especially in businesses, health and education. He says power production and distribution (Gas, Coal, Nuclear etc) is way too slow and cumbersome to have any real affect over the short term in alleviating these deficiencies and getting electricity to the majority of the population.He says some countries like Ghana and Senegal depend on imported oil and natural gas to fuel their power plants and are now struggling to pay mounting bills. In Senegal, the government relies on imported oil to fuel all but 66 megawatts of its 623-megawatt-capacity grid. When oil prices soared past US$100 a barrel, the government, which subsidizes electricity prices, was hit hard. The government has spent more than US$300 million in unplanned subsidies since 2004 to ease its citizens’ of rising electricity costs and is anticipating another difficult year, as the prices climb month after month.
He also notes that a Gas or Coal fired plant will take 2 to 5 years for planning and approval and a further 3to 7 years for implementation whilst a Solar PV will take 3to 9 months of planning and approval and then 3to 6 months to install.
The other issue is around distribution, for every kilometer you need to move electricity the infrastructure will cost you US$1millionif you take into account the vast distances of Africa between communities, this becomes economically unviable let alone the losses of electricity inherent in large scale distribution.
PV or other renewable source on the other hand can be built locally to each required site in minimal time and at vast lower cost, there are the issues around the Micro-grid management and maintenance in remote areas but this problem can be turned to advantage in local job creation and education.
JinkoSolar director says that these problems cannot be solved by one company or a single technology, like the global requirements for access to water, food, education, medical etc and the ability to reach a large percentage of the population with regular and safely access the electricity needs, a multi pronged approach.
He adds that his company has worked closely with local governments’, agencies and ministries, local and international corporations plus banks and NGO’s across Africa to establish best practices and policies for electrifying Africa.
He says the process is long and complicated but they are reaching new communities and countries every month and Jinko as a corporation has invested heavily into Africa markets in terms of a factory, personnel and corporate responsibility and gifts to hospitals, schools and conservation projects across the continent.
Continued technology investments and successful complete vertical integrated model have been critical to driving down the cost of solar electricity. With continued enhancements in quality control, highest fully automation, growing production scales and R&D innovation, JinkoSolar ranked top 1 in cost structure in 2012. They accelerate the step to reach grid parity in global scale. At that point, in most developed-economy and rich radiation areas, it should cost less to generate solar electricity than to buy electricity from the grid.
JinkoSolar is a proactive policy advocate and supporter of numerous environmental awareness initiatives. It advocates for specific issues that pertain to climate changes, rational and cost effective energy policy, clean energy, and solar industry product development. JinkoSolar attempted to influence public policy dialogue in a number of ways. In China,its CEO as China State Council Representative advocated for the need for sustainable development of solar PV and proposed suggestions on the design of climate policy, FIT, renewable energy targets as well as other issues in China during the State Council Meetings. JinkoSolar ‘stechnical team provides suggestions on a range of important energy market and industry supply issues, including quality standards and codes for product. As key member of various industry associations, JinkoSolar participated actively in consulting with federal policymakers on industry consensus recommendations and programs that will guide the solar industry on best practices for environmental and social responsibility.
Jinko through its strong network of Partners has been awarded 81.5MW in Round 1 with a further 220MW in Round 2 in three separate projects giving Jinko almost 30 percent market share, they have also won projects in Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, UAE, Egypt, Sudan etc.
Further to this, Jinko are in the process of completing a 100MW PV manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa to fulfill the local market requirements.
Silvester notes that there’s no doubt that the renewable energy will fully replace the traditional ones someday in the future. And they believe solar energy is the best of them so far, because it’s safe, clean, unlimited, consistent and economic. Therefore, the construction industry should also gradually focus on the energy saving and renewable energy in the future.