Top Chinese solar firms eye Kenya for lucrative deals

Kenya is a strategic market for solar equipment.
Kenya is a strategic market for solar equipment. PHOTO/COURTESY
Chinese solar firms are increasingly setting their sights on the Kenyan market in the wake of the rising demand for reliable, cheaper and clean energy in the country.

Shenzhen Power Solution Limited and Guangzhou-based manufacturer of integrated solar solutions, Esavior are among top Chinese companies that have recently announced their intentions to expand into Kenya.

In a recent energy and power expo held in Nairobi, senior executives from Chinese solar firms expressed confidence in the future of the Kenyan market, saying that the marketplace is skewed in favour of suppliers of affordable, but high quality, solar lighting solutions.

Susan Lee, vice president of Shenzhen Power Solution said Kenya presents a profitable and growing market for solar equipment as the country continues to accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources.

“We are scouting for a Kenyan franchise to distribute our products that include solar lanterns, torches and solar study lamps,” Ms Lee said.

Esavior sales director Leo Leung said Kenya is a great market for solar systems as households and industries embrace cleaner energy sources.

Leung said that Kenya had better prospects than most of its African counterparts, with counties being strategic markets for solar equipment.

“We are in 15 African countries but Kenya has better prospects especially in household solar lighting. County governments and charities are the biggest market for solar panels and LED solar street lights,” he said.

Being close to the equator, most of Kenya, particularly the northern arid areas, enjoys strong sunshine all year round giving the country great potential for solar energy production.

The country, which receives insolation of 4-6Wh/m2 daily, has now become a global leader in the total sum of solar systems installed per capita as high costs of connectivity continue to lock out most Kenyans from the national power grid.

In a bid to promote the use of clean energy, Kenya has put in place regulatory and policy incentives such as zero rating import duty and removing Value Added Tax (VAT) on all imported renewable energy systems.