Solarcentury launches African venture

In announcing the joining of the two companies, a Solarcentury statement said that the new venture will be headed up by founder Dan Davies and East African Solar’s former CEO Guy Lawrence. A team of seven people will be recruited to work alongside Davies and Lawrence within the region. The roles taken on by the seven encompass sales and business development, with one person overseeing project management and engineering, an assistant project manager and engineer, and two specialising in project delivery and local procurement.

Guy Lawrence, director of business development at Solarcentury in East Africa, said, “Joining Solarcentury creates a highly competitive offering which is already proving appealing to businesses serious about cutting their energy bills and carbon emissions by reducing their reliance on fossil fuels. Solar is especially beneficial for high energy users such as those in the tea, flower, horticulture and manufacturing sectors where high energy costs can reduce their global competitiveness.”

East African Solar’s LinkedIn page claims that it has 11-50 employees. According to Davies, all existing employees of East African Solar are transferring to the new initiative. It was not made clear as to whether those transferring will be the same seven that are set to be recruited. In addition, Solarcentury announced that it intended to develop employment opportunities in Kenya, including an initiative funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to promote skills training.

Davies outlined the development of the syllabus being taught through the DFID-funded initiative:

“We realised that in order to train installers in Kenya it was necessary to have an installation standard or guide as the course syllabus," he explained. "I approached DFID and suggested that they fund the conversion of the U.K. installation guidelines into a suitable form for Kenya. The Kenya grid and wiring regulations are similar to the U.K. for historical reasons. I helped write a brief for DFID and they agreed to fund this. The Kenya association of manufacturers then developed a full call for proposals which I also helped write. The call for proposals from consultants is now out. I hope to be able to help the project by sitting on the steering committee. At the same time GIZ are supporting work on developing training bodies – so lots of activity. A part of this is to support the energy regulatory commission who are requiring solar technicians to be licenced — and to be licenced they need training.”

Solarcentury was founded in 1998 and claims to donate 5% of its net profits to SolarAid, a charity that works to eradicate the use of kerosene lamps in Africa by 2020.