Attendees at an online rooftop solar event in Central Africa called for customer incentives, solar kit tax exemptions, feed-in tariffs, installation standards, affordable financing , grid connections and recycling policies across the region.
With African government representatives at last month’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow pledging to scale up clean energy production, more heads of state must walk their talk with action, a delegate said at the meeting. of an online event dedicated to the solar roof market in Central Africa.
“We have to see policies that match the rhetoric and so far we don’t have a lot of policies that fit the rhetoric across the continent apart from very few countries like Senegal,” said Martins Arogie. from KPMG to Solar Roofs Central. Africa event.
The event focused on the rooftop segment of the solar industry in Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon , Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan and Zambia.
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Arogie, a partner of the global accounting firm, said governments need to encourage customers to choose solar generators over diesel because discussing the benefits of PV panels over the lifespan of a solar roof was not enough. “Today, the average cost of investing in solar panels and batteries is much higher than the average cost of the initial cost of fossil fuel generators,” he said, adding: “Solar panels and batteries will cost less over the lifespan of both assets, but customers don’t look at the lifespan, they look at the upfront expenses.
Metkel Z Abraham, COO of Ugandan solar roof and pump supplier Aptech Africa, said: “The most important policy we are seeing right now is the tax exemption on solar products, which has a big impact because the initial cost of solar products is high. Unfortunately, most of the countries in the central region [of Africa] do not have this policy.
Abraham also called for installation standards and a requirement for competent and qualified solar installers.
Policymakers should join forces with the private sector to find a way to persuade banks to offer more affordable financing for solar projects, according to Brayson Hillary Kisamo, the Chinese manufacturer’s East Africa sales manager. of JA Solar photovoltaic panels. Right now, he said, banks charge up to 15-25% interest on loans for solar projects as they attempt to hedge against the often highly fluctuating local currencies.
Alda Manuel, renewable energy project manager for Angolan infrastructure and telecommunications company Anglobal, said Africa needs its own supply chain for materials used in solar manufacturing, as well as a wider adoption of feed-in tariffs for owners of solar roofs, and better availability of connections to the electricity grid.
Manuel also stressed the importance of preparing a waste recycling policy that will follow the first wave of solar installations in Central Africa, and said the government of Angola, which depends on hydropower, aims to draw 70 % of its electricity from renewable energy next year. and deploys carbon taxes.
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