M-Kopa’s Drive for Local Sourcing of Solar Panels Attributed to Favourable Manufacturing Environment

M-Kopa Solar

M-Kopa Solar, a pay-as-you-go energy provider to off-grid homes, announced that it has sold over 100,000 20W and 15W PV panels that is sourced from Solinc East Africa, a solar products manufacturer that was started back in 2011 in Kenya, in the last two years. The panels are used in M-KOPA’s larger home systems, which include TV, lights, radio and phone charging.

Through these panels, M-Kopa generates a total of 1.85MW of off-grid power bringing over 500,000 people into the world of Information economy through solar powered TV sets. The company now looks to locally source its smaller 8W panels that it previously imported from overseas.

“The company will be looking to locally source a further half a million PV panels, generating 6.6 MW of power over the next two years,” said Mugo Kibati, Chairman, M-KOPA. “Kenya has emerged as a hub for solar innovation.
The government has created an enabling environment for the solar sector and now we’re seeing the impact and benefits flowing into the wider economy,” he added.

Speaking to Techweez, Mr Mugo said that aside from the enabling environment created by the government, M-Kopa was impressed by the quality and costs that they were getting from Solinc, “The local manufacturing and sourcing of our larger panels, which has been done for the last 18 months has been excellent,” he said. He added that another advantage of sourcing all their PV panels locally was that the company will benefit from a shorter supply chain.

Solinc East Africa also commented on the news, saying that they would hire more people to meet the demand, if contracted by M-Kopa to supply the 8W PV panels. “Solinc employs 130 Kenyans in its Naivasha factory and if it secures the increased volumes from M-Kopa it would employ 30 more engineering staff over the next two years,” said Solinc managing director, Haijo Kuper.

A few months ago, M-Kopa secured a total of $80 million of committed financing form Stanbic Bank, CDC, FMO and Norfund to provide finance for pay-as-you-go solar installations in one million homes over the next three years.