Merger activity heats up in African commercial solar market


Shell is set to acquire West African commercial and industrial (C&I) solar leasing company Daystar Power.

The move, which is subject to regulatory approvals, was jointly announced in a press release issued by the two companies this week. The purchase price for Daystar was not revealed.

The Lagos-based company installs and operates solar arrays on commercial rooftops in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and Togo. Clients receive cheaper electricity from the panels and also have the option of systems with energy storage.

Daystar said Shell's backing would enable it to expand operations into other sub-Saharan African markets and to reach 400 MW of solar generation capacity by 2025.

“We have seen booming demand for solar energy in the African markets where we operate,” said Jasper Graf von Hardenberg, CEO and co-founder of Daystar. “That has been reflected in our growth: we are on-track to increase our installed solar capacity by 135% in 2022. As part of Shell we will be able to execute our mission even faster to deliver carbon emission reductions and power cost savings to businesses across Africa.”

The news comes days after the announcement of a planned merger between fellow African C&I solar companies Starsight Energy and SolarAfrica.

Starsight, also based in Lagos, has operations in Nigeria and Ghana. Last year, it bought half the East African operation of Nairobi-based peer Premier Solar Group, giving it a foothold in Kenya.

Popular content

The installer – backed by London-based private equity investor Helios Investment Partners, the African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) entity partly owned by South African lender Old Mutual – will merge with South African C&I player SolarAfrica, subject to regulatory approvals.

A press release published by the two companies last week on the Africa Solar Industry Association website said the combined company would offer installations ranging from rooftop arrays up to big, PPA-backed solar projects for commercial clients.

The new entity will have more than 220 MW of solar generation capacity, 40 MWh of battery storage and a development pipeline of more than 1 GW.

Starsight and SolarAfrica said Old Mutual has vowed to invest more in solar projects in South Africa, due to recent regulatory changes that allow independent energy companies to challenge the dominance of troubled state utility Eskom.

Old Mutual said it would channel the funds into the newly merged C&I business via AIIM. The businesses said that “further pan-African diversification” would be considered, and hinted at possible moves into north and central Africa.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: