REC is entering numerous markets in Africa, beginning with ECOWAS, East and South African regions, with solar power uptake on the African continent predicted to surge over coming years.
Around 100 GW of solar installations are forecast for Africa by 2030. This has given REC an excellent starting position within the various African markets with regard to the company’s combination of high performance solar panels, the established REC Partner Programme and training expertise for local solar professionals.
As the African solar industry expands and populations continue to grow, the high irradiation levels across the continent have become increasingly important as a potential source of solar energy. Moreover, with over 600 million people on the continent still lacking access to power grids, which are often woefully unstable and fraught by power cuts, local solar energy projects will give communities clean, affordable power without the need for large-scale, public-funded investment in grid infrastructures. There are also signs of a potential reduction in fossil fuel subsidies across the region, which in the past had a distorting effect on competitiveness. The prospect of higher retail prices for fossil fuel-based energy will act as a further incentive to go solar.
Several countries have already decided to increase their renewable energy sources. Ghana is aiming to meet 10 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2020. As a result, REC expects 75 to 100 MW of installation in the utility segment in Ghana in 2016, 10 MW in commercial and 1-2 MW in residential.
“Africa’s greatest growth challenge is energy, and there’s a serious need to quickly get additional generation capacity in place to meet increasing energy demands” said Luc Graré, Senior Vice President EMEA at REC. “We expect around 100 GW of solar panels to be installed in the region by 2030, with residential markets and turnkey solutions offering particularly good opportunities. However, financing of investments is generally critical, so it’s vital to choose a supplier that is highly bankable. As the financially most stable solar panel manufacturer worldwide, our customers can rely on REC’s sustainable business. Our long-term success is based on highly reliable REC solar panels, even in the harshest climate conditions.”
REC will open regional hubs this year and next in the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), East and South African regions. The company will also be offering kit solutions for residential installations and solar hybrid boxes for 20-50kW installations in order to cater for the markets’ demand for small-scale off-grid power generation systems. Additionally, it will establish a network of REC distributors as part of its Partner Programme and will be setting up the REC Academy in order to train distributors who will in turn train local solar professionals. The company will be appearing at the South African Solar Show next year, one of the major events in the annual solar tradeshow calendar.