SolarCentury fast-tracking the mission to power Africa

by Tendai Dube 0

Solarcentury East Africa completes solar projects throughout the region, where the renewable energy form has shown great potential as viable alternative to the grid.

According to the United States Agency for International Development, two out of three people in Sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity.

With power shortages trimming about 2 per cent of GDP in Africa, the aim is that Africa will reach 22 per cent by 2030.

In 2015 the industry recieved a boost when the UK launched an Energy Africa campaign to help the continent achieve this goal.

“To roll-out renewable energy developments – whether they are geothermal, wind or solar – it takes time and I think one of the common misconceptions is that solar is not expensive technology [however] if you look at the large scale over 20-25 years, the cost of power per unit that you get from solar, will always be less than the cost of the grid,” said Guy Lawrence, Director of Solarcentury East Africa.

Solarcentury also built the largest solar car port project in Africa at a new retail complex in Nairobi.

“Renewable energy is unstoppable and it is rolling out, but the development takes time and is also getting used to the ministry and the Kenya power and the utilities in Kenya just getting used to renewable energy,” said Lawrence using an example.

“I think that you want to look at the value that you are getting from this for example, two years ago we built 1 megawatt for a tea factory, that cut their power cost by 30 per cent year-on-year and they are expecting to pay that off within 5-7 years, so it’s a sustainable and relatively fast paying technology, said Lawrence.