The German company SMA Solar Technology has just signed a partnership agreement with Davis & Shirtliff, a Kenyan company specialising in the supply of water and energy equipment. The latter will distribute SMA's photovoltaic inverters in East Africa.
The solar market is growing in East Africa. Kenya is one of the pioneering countries in this domain as renewable energy projects are multiplying in the region. It is a business climate that drives the German company SMA Solar Technology to take an interest in this dynamic market. It manufactures inverters for photovoltaic installations. These inverters are used to transfer electricity into the grid. The company, based in Hesse (central Germany), has chosen Kenya as its base in East Africa. On site, the company markets its inverters through Davis & Shirtliff, a Kenyan company specialising in the supply of water and energy equipment.
Davis & Shirtliff has already sold 70 SMA inverters in the East African market. Both partners are focusing mainly on the solar off-grid. Many companies are turning to this off-grid electricity distribution system, convinced that it is often more advantageous. “The installation of an off-grid solar system can significantly reduce the electricity bill and therefore the operating costs of manufacturers,” said Phillip Holi, Technical Director of Davis & Shirtliff.
A strategic market for SMA
More and more, development partners and companies are investing in the solar off-grid. In December 2018, the British government announced that it would invest more than $127 million in projects to catalyse the growth of the renewable energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa.
At the same time, several companies are getting stronger. It is the case with Zola Electric which offers “solar plus storage” systems for households and off-grid businesses across sub-Saharan Africa. The start-up announced in December 2018 that it had obtained a $32.5 million credit facility to finance its activities in Tanzania over the next five years. The loans were granted by an investor group led by Inspired Evolution, an investment advisory firm specialising in the energy sector in Africa, the Netherlands Development Finance Corporation (FMO), Norfund, a Norwegian private equity firm and Swedbank, a bank based in Stockholm, Sweden.
A dynamic off-grid solar market that could benefit SMA Solar Technology, which has decided to redirect its commercial strategy towards developing countries, after its failure on the solar market in China.
Jean Marie Takouleu