Chinese solar firms eye chances to fill African infrastructure
Several Chinese solar firms, leaders in the global photovoltaic (PV) sector, are eyeing Africa's "blue ocean" market as the continent continues to deal with intermittent power shortages.
Some 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity. Much needed investment in infrastructure has prompted some firms to provide household solar power solutions using a PayGo model - a flexible billing and payment solution which makes solar power more accessible to a wider range of consumers.
Shenzhen-based Beebeejump has set up a team of over 200 sales and management staff in Nigeria, selling off-grid solar products across 36 states in the country using the PayGo method, He Ping, co-founder and deputy manager of the company said in a recent interview with Future Hub Africa.
Only 40 percent of Nigerians are able to connect with the state grid, the country with the largest population in Africa; even for the households which can use power, grid service is often unreliable, He said.
"Compared with the PayGo products from European and American firms, our products are more cost-effective," He noted.
In the coming two to three years, He expected the company to be the top solar brand in the new energy industry in Nigeria and is targeting three to five African markets within the next five years.
"[We hope to] sell 500MW each year, solve the power supply issues for 3 million people in areas vulnerable to blackouts and reduce 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year," the co-founder said.
LONGi, a leading solar tech company from China, has supplied the Chamalire School in Malawi with 20 solar panels capable of reaching a peak power of 7,200W last year.
The school is located in the village of Tanga, in the Central region of Malawi.
"We are delighted to see solar PV lighting up more and more parts of Africa, with off-grid power stations offering an effective solution," said Dennis She, senior vice president at LONGi Solar, according to the company's press release.