By Kenya's Business Daily
A new solar panel manufacturing factory has been put up in Naivasha at an estimated cost of Sh250 million, giving impetus to Kenya’s drive for change towards renewable energy. [Read: Tax cut on solar panels to light up more homes] Ubbink East Africa Managing Director Haijo Kuper said during the official opening ceremony that the company will be producing 100 solar panels per day. The company, he said, will uphold quality in the industry. “Our prices are at par with our competitors,” said Mr Kuper.
The manufacturer is currently making solar panels of between 13 and 120 watts, targeting rural households. The firm is a joint venture of Ubbink B.V - a wholly owned subsidiary of Centrotec Sustainable AG- and Chloride Exide (Kenya), the local partner. It is the first to make photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in East and Central Africa. The firm will boost solar panel production in the region. Mr Kuper said there was high demand for the panels, and the company would increase output in the coming months. “The market is huge,” he said.
The manufacturer also plans to venture outside the East African region. He said the choice to invest in the country was a deliberate one, due to the country’s efficient distribution network for solar products, sound economic policies and good infrastructure. “This is not a coincidence, the country has got an educated workforce and high labour ethics,” he said. The Chief Executive of Centrotec Sustainable AG, Mr Gert-Jan Huisman, said almost 98 per cent of the rural population in Africa does not have access to grid electric power supply, and this was holding back economic development. The most common energy sources are the highly polluting kerosene lamps, and fuel generators.
“As one of the sunniest continents on the planet, Africa gives solar applications like LED-lighting, mobile charging, water pumps, street lighting very short pay-back times thus minimising pollution levels,” Mr Kuper said. Source