Pioneering South African solar energy provider SolarAfrica has been named the continent’s leading solar energy firm, scooping the Africa Solar Industry Association’s (AFSIA’s) African Solar Company of the Year award at a ceremony held in London on November 16.
AFSIA’s annual Solar Awards recognises exceptional talent and achievements in the African solar market, celebrating companies and individuals that have made an ‘outstanding’ contribution to promoting and advancing the use of solar across Africa through good practice, professionalism, quality, safety and innovation.
SolarAfrica’s win came in recognition of the company being the first to successfully market solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) to residential and commercial power users in South Africa since its inception in 2011.
Ten years later the business has over 50 staff members and has financed over 125 projects across Sub Saharan Africa – equating to more than 55MW in total energy provided.
Examples of innovation from across the continent were cited. Tanzania has off-grids and mini-grids, as does Cameroon, which is the testament to the fact that when done correctly, these initiatives are working. Furthermore, in Tanzania, packages are sold that include TV, radio, and fridges along with energy, indicating that we must start to think more laterally about creative financial solutions to support the uptake of solar.
Together with financing partners, Commercial Energy SA, the company has provided its customers with a capex-free solar solution that delivers long-term monetary savings and improves their environmental footprint by reducing their Co2 emissions.
To date, SolarAfrica’s impact on the environment has resulted in a reduction of 262 000 tonnes of carbon emissions, which is equivalent to thirty million kilograms of coal. With that in mind, SolarAfrica is predicted to save their customers over R500 million in lifetime savings across their entire portfolio which relates to more than 1.3 Million tonnes of Co2.
Accepting the award on behalf of the team, SolarAfrica Chief Investment Officer Charl Alheit described the excitement of witnessing the growth of the African solar market over the last decade.
“What’s really encouraging is that the growth in the solar market has been based predominantly on a financial decision, being that solar is generally cheaper than the alternative. The environmental benefits are merely a bonus. This reality will ensure the sustainability and resilience of this market going forward.
We’re expecting a very exciting decade ahead and are excited to be part of a more sustainable energy mix going forward,” he said.
SolarAfrica’s ten-year involvement in the industry has been marked by several notable achievements:
SolarAfrica provides a solar finance solution through a PPA that enables users to reduce their monthly electricity costs by up to 30% and become more sustainable organisations, without having to pay any upfront capital.
Its fully-installed Tier 1 solar PV system requires zero capital investment, while the agreement includes full maintenance, monitoring and insurance throughout the lifetime of the agreement.
The company conducts a full technical review to determine each client’s consumption trends, which ensures that the solar systems provided are customised to provide the best possible cost savings for each client.
All systems are monitored 24/7 to ensure optimum customer savings and any faulty or broken equipment is covered and replaced at no cost to the client.
“Not only do we offer a guaranteed uptime of 98% on all of our solutions, but the greatest advantage to SolarAfrica’s PPA is our ‘No Take, No Pay’ clause, which means you only pay for the power you use,” says Alheit.
Watch footage from our category announcement at the AFSIA Awards which took place at the 23rd Africa Energy Forum (AEF):
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