The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Southern Africa Extends Solar Presence at SPI

Eight solar power firm owners and operators from five Southern African countries attended the Solar Power International (SPI) conference in Orlando, Florida last week. Firm owners from Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia met with potential U.S. technology and investment partners, heard from industry experts on the state of the industry, and checked out the latest products on the market from the more than 1,200 exhibitors at the conference. Working with Maryland-based Elan International, the delegates' attendance at the conference was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy in Botswana and the U.S. Agency for International Development's Southern Africa Trade Hub.

For the U.S. Embassy in Botswana, getting the delegates to the conference was a win-win: southern African firms are increasingly seeking to grow their industry in their home countries, and at the same time, the solar industry in the U.S. — and America's economic recovery — is being driven in large part by exports.  Africa is an open market for U.S. goods and services, and American firms are keenly interested in finding the right contacts with potential African partners.

The African delegates went to SPI ready to find U.S. partners and make new deals.  Tamuka Kaseke, of South Africa's AM-AMD Independent Power, for example, has recently been licensed by the South African government to develop a 30-MW solar project with other projects in the pipeline, and he's now looking for an opportunity to buy solar components for his solar parks.  Clearly impressed with American design, technology, and yes — prices — Kaseke has talked with dozens of exhibitors and learned about financing options from The U.S. Export-Import Bank, among others.  "I love what I'm seeing here," he said.

The three delegates from Botswana were equally impressed.  Felix Chavaphi, who owns the Botswana firm, Energy Systems, observed, "At this conference I'm seeing the state of the art."  But he qualified the remark:  "I have been surprised at how few Africans are here.  Africa represents a new, potentially important market for solar products.  Many African governments and private sector partners are ready to buy, and policies such as feed-in tariffs are being developed.  Yet it doesn't seem the solar industry here has many African partners yet.  I feel privileged because I'm getting a lot of attention here."

The group was the first U.S. Government-sponsored delegation to attend SPI from the Southern African region, which represents a market of more than 277 million people.

Lead image: Africa map via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

C&I Solar Sector Could See Huge Growth in Next Few Years

Andrew Burger, Contributor Investments in commercial and industrial (C&I) solar energy projects (50kW-2MW) by U.S. corporations is poised to soar, according to a new market research report commissioned by Santa Barbara-based Wiser Capital. More t...
Solar plant and wind turbines

Is Utility-Scale Solar Growth Economically Viable?

Philip Wolfe, Wiki-Solar The recent growth in utility-scale solar has been explosive in relative terms. Because the start point was so low however, this still represents a small proportion of global electricity generation — about one third of 1 per...
Graphene for solar cells

Strengthening Solar Cell Performance with Graphene

Roni Peleg, Contributor Graphene is a nanomaterial that has been attracting a remarkable amount of interest as a potential game changer for various applications, from energy storage to flexible transparent displays. Graphene is basically a ho...

How New York is Using Local Power & Microgrids To Transform the State

Roy Hales, Contributor New York’s antiquated infrastructure was in trouble long before hurricane Sandy. The bulk power system, designed to meet a peak demand 75 percent higher than most of America, is underutilized most of the day. New Yorkers ha...
Mr. Karnell is a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State. He has served as U.S. Embassy-Botswana's Economic/Commercial Officer since September 2010.

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

ImagineSolar | Advanced Lab Day: Solar PV Design & Installation (Au...

Advanced Lab Day: System Design & Installation  $195 – 8 ...

ImagineSolar | Advanced Online: Solar PV System Design & NABCEP Exa...

Advanced Online Solar PV System Design & NABCEP Exam Prep $695 &ndas...

Bankability and Support Mechanisms for Renewable Energy Projects

Setting appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks is essential for the...

COMPANY BLOGS

Solar Energy Vs. Wind Energy: How Do They Compare?

Solar energy and wind energy are both excellent alternative sources of p...

Introducing the newest update to the LSX Module System: LSX Rail 1.1

LSX Rail 1.1 still has the same features and benefits you've c...

Looking Beyond The "Green Agenda"

You can save a lot of time searching for new prospects for your efficien...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS