In spite of Africa’s high potential for the use of solar power, this form of energy is yet to become widely available across the continent. To help local communities take full advantage of the sun as a natural source of electricity, Flanders-based companies Enerdeal and Solergie have been tasked to bring solar energy to parts of Madagascar and Togo, respectively, in the upcoming years. Both are ambitious projects, to say the least.
A market with high potential
In the past few years, industrial solar roof installers in Flanders have been exploring market potential abroad. For Flanders-based Enerdeal, which installed the largest solar park in Central Africa (Congo), sales are becoming increasingly Africa-focused.
“We expect around 20% of our annual turnover to be generated from projects in Africa. In Madagascar alone, we have several big prospective assignments.”
Grégoire de Pierpont, CEO of Enerdeal
Step by step towards cleaner and affordable energy
Headquartered in Zaventem (Flanders), Enerdeal is poised to supply five Madagascan cities with solar energy. Together with local partner Henri Fraise Fils (HFF), Enerdeal won a tender from Madagascan state producer and power distributor Jirama for the construction of 5 large solar parks. These include battery storage and back-up diesel generators. With a peak capacity of 1 to 1.5 megawatts each, the parks will power cities of 20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants within two years. Eventually, solar batteries will completely replace the use of diesel.
Total cost of this project: EUR 13 million. In addition to HFF’s EUR 5 million investment, the federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs is providing an export credit of EUR 8 million via Finexpo.
Part of a master plan
Meanwhile, Bruges-based Solergie sealed a major deal in Togo as one of five privileged partners to be licensed to supply green energy to all inhabitants of the rural country. The project is part of an ambitious plan to provide all of Togo with access to electricity by 2030. Solergie specializes in nanogrids, decentralized power distribution systems that can supply up to eight houses. The price of one installation is EUR 2,700.
“By spreading the monthly cost of the solar installation over eight households and thanks to a monthly subsidy from the Togolese government, residents will own the installation themselves within five years tops.”
Bert Bernolet, CEO of Solergie
With help from entrepreneurial Flanders
In 2020, Solergie raised EUR 1 million to help finance the project. Next year, the company aims to secure a EUR 2.2 million capital injection. With the support of 72 shareholders, including some well-known entrepreneurs from Flanders, Solergie CEO Bernolet is confident that the project will be successful: “It would be a major milestone for us to make this social project in Africa profitable.”