M-KOPA, which lists the Department for International Development and Sir Richard Branson among its investors has announced that it has sold over 100,000 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that were made in Kenya by Solinc. It is also announcing that future panel sourcing is to be done locally, subject to market and regulatory conditions.
The company 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.
Previously, M-KOPA 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.
Mugo Kibati, Chairman, M-KOPA says, “Kenya has emerged as a hub for solar innovation. The government has created an enabling environment for the solar sector and now we’re seeing the impact and benefits flowing into the wider economy.”
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.
Haijo Kuper, Founder and Managing Director, Solinc East Africa says, “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.”
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.
Alex MacGillivray, CDC’s Director of Development Impact says, “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. Continued industry and government support is vital for Kenya PV manufacturing – and solar technology as a whole – to remain affordable for businesses and consumers.”