- BY Endre Skolt
- Fornybar energi
Norad has granted support to the project «Sustainable development of the off-grid solar home system market in Ethiopia». The support amounts to 1.2 million NOK to a consortium consisting of Change Com AS, Fosera Solarsystems Gmbh & Co and Fosera Manufacturing Plc, represented by Change Com AS in Norway and with Fosera Manufacturing Plc in Ethiopia as «implementing» partner.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the population is steadily increasing, and recently passed 100 million inhabitants. This growth gives the government challenges in a number of areas – employment, education, access to electricity to name a few. The Ethiopian government has very ambitious climate goals, and one of the initiatives taken is to improve the energy supply by incentivizing foreign companies to manufacture solar energy products.
While previous solar home systems were too expensive and had short battery lifetimes, today’s Pico PV systems are using superior battery technology and are manufactured at affordable cost while maintaining high quality.
The solar market in Ethiopia has big potential and is currently underserved. The current sales of pico PV systems in Ethiopia are largely based on sales financed through Micro Finance Institutions. Fosera believes that the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) concept using a mobile payment platform will be playing a major role in Ethiopia as in other African markets. The policy framework for doing such business in Ethiopia is currently not favorable for foreign investors. Therefore, the project plans to campaign for improved foreign investment conditions, prepare the implementation of mobile money, search partners and develop business models for productive system use. Next, a PAYG pilot project with local partners will be conducted to gain expertise for future roll-out.
Fosera’s ambition is to expand the operating network with 10 distribution partners and supporting a network of 300 retail partners. The project should eventually lead to electrification of 80,000 households and 5000 small businesses.