With over 600 million people who currently not connected to dependable grid- connected electricity, renewable energy companies are busy trying to find innovative solutions to help these people. Here are the Top 7 renewable energy firms in Africa:
Tanzania-based Juabar, (‘Jua’ is Swahili for sunshine), provides mobile-phone charging amenities to people living in off-grid areas. The company creates solar-powered kiosks outfitted with a 50W solar-PV system that can charge up to 20 phones at a time. The kiosks are an entrepreneurship opportunity, too.
“Juapreneurs” pay a monthly charge of TSh.80, 000 (US$36.50) to run the kiosks as franchisees, and are free to set phone-charging prices, with nearly all ranging from TSh.300 to TSh.500 ($0.14 to $0.23) per cell phone. Juabar says its franchises charge 20 phones on a typical day
Independent power producer BioTherm Energy centers on the development, funding, building and operations of wind and solar projects. Established in 2003, the company has already developed three wind and solar projects in South Africa, supplying a total of 49MW.
In 2008, energy and commodities-focused global private equity firm Denham Capital supported BioTherm with $150m – which at the time was the largest renewable energy investment ever made in Africa. The company was also the first to monetize carbon credits.
BioTherm has its sights on projects in 10 countries in Africa and has already signed 250MW of power purchase agreements (PPAs) in seven states.
Solinc East Africa
Previously known as Ubbink East Africa, Solinc is the region’s first solar-panel manufacturing plant. Founded in 2011, Solinc makes solar panels from 20W to 300W, and also assembles complete home solar kits that comprise batteries, phone chargers and LED lights.
The plant’s recent manufacturing capacity is 140,000 solar panels annually, and it hopes to double this by the next 18 months to meet rising demand. The products are sold in Uganda,Kenya and Tanzania through a group of independent dealers. Solinc also delivers solar companies such as M-KOPA and Mobisol, which vend to customers using pay-as-you-go models
This pay-as-you-go solar Energy Company links 550 new homes across Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda to solar power daily, and has already linked over 375,000. M-KOPA’s entry-level, GSM-enabled home solar system features a battery, phone-charging facility, light bulb, and a chargeable radio. To get the system, consumers pay a $34 deposit, and shell out the balance over a 12-month period in daily usage credits of about $0.50, sent to the company through mobile
M-KOPA began selling other products to persuade customers to continue their subscription once the solar-system is paid off. The products consist of a 16-inch solar-powered TVs, Smart phones, bicycles, water tanks and cooking stove money.
M-KOPA also offers loans to pay school fees. Homes which have paid off their solar-system then basically use that system as security to acquire these additional goods, most of which add to sustainable energy usage.
This Kenya-based manufacturer of energy-generating roofing tiles, or building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), tries to attract homeowners with the prospects of making extra income from selling extra power to the grid.
Unlike usual installations, where solar panels are mounted on the roof, Strauss builds roofing tiles that have solar cells instilled into them. It costs about$4,000 and $5,000 to roof a three-bedroom house. Strauss says that homeowners will get back their money within three years by selling surplus power back to the grid. Buyers also have the alternative to install just sufficient solar tiles to meet their power needs.
Solektra International is the corporation behind the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, co-founded by RnB singer Akon. The project alleges to have installed 100,000 solar street lamps and 1,200 solar micro-grids in 15 various countries.
The company has developed numerous solar products, such as the ‘Free Light SOL-SL01A’, an LED light powered by a photovoltaic panel and lithium battery, which aspires to replace traditional oil lamps.
Last year Solektra started the Solar Academy in Bamako, Mali. The academy will put up capabilities in the energy space, with the goal of teaching 200 skillful workers, technicians and engineers annually to install and maintain the products.
Tropical Power Energy Group
This is an engineering and construction company that works to convert agricultural waste into electricity. The company opened Africa’s largest grid-connected biogas plant in Naivasha, Kenya back in 2015. The $6.5m Gorge Farm Energy Park generates 2.4MW, or nearly 0.1% of Kenya’s electricity capacity, using natural crop waste gotten from Gorge Farm, an 800ha vegetable farm owned by East Africa’s chief fresh-produce exporter, VP Group.
Construction started last year on a 10MW grid-connected solar PV plant that will be a welcomed additional to the energy park. By 2018, Tropical Power plans to have constructed renewable power resources across Africa, producing over 130MW. The company has already started work on a biogas and solar project in Ghana.