M-KOPA says it has sold over 100,000 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that were made in Kenya by Solinc, a Kenyan-based firm and its changing tact to buy all its future panels locally, subject to market and regulatory conditions.
According to Haijo Kuper, Founder and Managing Director, Solinc East Africa, “We’re delighted that we have been able to provide M-KOPA with security of supply at an affordable price point. In line with global trends, we’re confident that we can continue to bring the cost of PV down and maintain quality.”
M-KOPA has been sourcing its 20W and 15W panels at the Solinc factory in Naivasha for the last two years. The panels are used in M-KOPA’s larger home systems, which include TV, lights, radio and phone charging.
M-KOPA has now installed over 100,000 of these locally manufactured panels, powering the company’s TV solar home systems. They are generating a total of 1.85MW of off-grid power direct from rooftops across East Africa. With M-KOPA households having an average of five inhabitants, they have brought 500,000 new TV viewers into the information economy.
M-KOPA previously imported its smaller 8W panels from overseas. M-KOPA will now be looking to source all its PV panels in Kenya. The company will be looking to locally source a further half a million PV panels, generating 6.6MW of power, over the next two years.
In 2011 Solinc set up the first solar PV module factory in East and Central Africa, located in Naivasha. It provides contract manufacturing to a range of local solar companies.
Solinc employs 130 Kenyans in its Naivasha factory and if it secures the increased volumes from M-KOPA, it would employ 30 more engineering staff over the next 2 years.
“As an investor in M-KOPA, we are pleased that the company is growing a local manufacturing base and supporting the creation of green jobs in Kenya,” said Alex MacGillivray, CDC’s Director of Development Impact. ” Continued industry and government support is vital for Kenya PV manufacturing – and solar technology as a whole – to remain affordable for businesses and consumers.”