75 exhibitors and 4,000 visitors have participated in the Solar Africa 2023 exhibition held in Nairobi last week. pv magazine was there to observe the event and explore the potential of the solar energy market in East and Central Africa.
“The number of participants has increased significantly by 30 percent. This year’s event has exhibitors from over 24 countries, an increase from 14 in 2018, across categories such as batteries, inverters and rural power generation systems,” said Duncan Njage, regional director of Expogroup, which organized the event. This year there are more than 4,000 visitors and more than 75 exhibitors in different categories.”
More than 25,000–30,000 solar products are traded annually in Kenya. This attracted many companies to the event, especially from China and India, including Luminous Solar, Techfine, One-Inverter, Solis, Omnivoltaic, Snadi and Solar X. Several exhibitors shared their views on the potential of the region, saying now is the right time to invest in Africa’s solar industry.
One-Inverter’s sales manager Irene Lyu said she was delighted to attend Solar Africa 2023 and showcase her products in the region. “We still have to set up in this area. However, we are open to working with industry suppliers and bringing our solution to customers. Our 10kWh battery is a great solution and we hope to work with local suppliers in the area.
“I am happy to be here. We are a battery, inverter and UPS solutions company. The event has been great and many visitors have been interested in solar energy. Our goal now is to work with suppliers as we are currently not establishing a base in the area.” said Kyra Zhang, Techfine’s sales manager.
“We are excited to participate in the Solar Africa exhibition and present our latest energy solutions to potential customers and partners in Kenya. Our products are designed to meet the energy needs of individuals, households and companies. Our solutions provide a reliable and sustainable source of electricity, reducing dependence on traditional grid electricity and promoting a cleaner and greener future,” said Joy Wu, EcoFlow’s Latin America and Asia Pacific Director.
According to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), Kenya’s renewable energy capacity reached 3 GW in June last year, with solar accounting for about 120 MW. Most of this is hydropower distributed by the country’s KPLC. However, the recent drought led to low water levels and increased electricity costs, making electricity expensive, costing Ksh 26 ($0.20) per kWh unit.
Many projects are currently being developed in the municipality. In Kisumu, Ergon Solair Africa Limited is developing a 48.25MW plant at Kibosi, which is expected to be commissioned in 2024 and has been approved by the Kenyan government. The Kenya Ports Authority plans to deploy a 10MW solar power plant at the port of Mombasa as part of its green energy strategy and reduce electricity bills.
Kenya plans to spend $2.1 billion to generate electricity in off-grid areas using renewable energy mini-grids. This shows that the transition to solar energy is inevitable, especially given the high cost of electricity on the national grid. Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority plans to install 450 mini-grids as part of the country’s 2016-2021 strategic plan.