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

First Anniversary of The Balkan Floods Highlights Renewable Energy Market Opportunities

Ilias Tsagas, Contributor One year ago this month, severe flooding in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia killed 79 people, displaced about half a million and caused economic paralysis of the region. In the wake of these the catastrophic events, ...
Canadian Climate Goals

Canada Announces Weak Climate Target

Danielle Droitsch, NRDC Last week, Canada has announced its contribution to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases by announcing its post-2020 target. The target announced today is off-track to the 80 percent cut by 2050 they committed to in...
Renewable Energy Stocks

What Drives Alternative Energy Stocks?

Harris Roen, The Roen Financial Report Alternative energy became a serious market player after the turn of the millennium. Since that time, solar, wind, smart grid and other alternative energy stocks have experienced both strong up and down trends. The forces at...
Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.
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

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

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

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

EU PVSEC 2015 (European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition)

The EU PVSEC is the largest international Conference for Photovoltaic re...

CA Wine Industry's 2015 Solar Update- WEBINAR

Proceeds from event registration will go to the CA Sustainable Win...

SMA More Power, More Profit Tour - Duluth

SMA’s More Power, More Profit Tour is aimed to provide highly-valu...

COMPANY BLOGS

EU PVSEC 2014 extends its Scope

Added focus on application and policy topicsAbstracts for conference con...

EU PVSEC 2014: Call for Papers Receives Great Response

More than 1,500 contributions apply for presentation in AmsterdamScienti...

Boulder County Residents Generate Their Own Energy with Community S...

Despite a soggy afternoon, solar energy advocates gathered at ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS