Solynta Energy to ride solar wave to SA this year

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Solynta Energy, which installs solar systems for homes and businesses, is planning to expand to South Africa this year from its existing markets in Nigeria and Ghana.

The startup, which launched in March 2013, has so far installed solar systems in homes, businesses, schools, clinics and filling stations, without major corporate investment.

It has also installed the first solar-powered filling station in Abuja, only the second in West Africa, and is in the process of installing at a branch of Mr Biggs.

Chief executive officer (CEO) and founder Uvie Ugono told Disrupt Africa a great deal of Solynta’s work to date had been in proving the concept of solar and establishing its reputation, but said the company was making progress and planning further expansion.

Solynta is planning an entrance into the South African market this year, while it also hopes to list on the London Stock Exchange within the next two years. Ugono said the opportunity for the company is huge given the importance of solar to power generation in Africa.

“Solar is absolutely crucial to Africa’s future.  We receive a vast amount of free energy from the sun each day, and this can very easily be harnessed to power homes and businesses, and at a very low cost compared to other sources of power. Further, rapid improvements and cost reductions in the cost of solar and battery technology are set to speed up the solar revolution in Africa,” he said.

“The solar energy market in Africa is perhaps one of the most exciting markets anywhere in the world.  The energy deficit on the continent is close to 1,000 GW, and set to increase due to the rapidly increasing population of Africa. The revenue potentials are truly enormous. In Nigeria alone, we project that with the required level of financing, we can generate revenues of US$25 billion per annum. Africa wide, that number is closer to US$100 billion per annum.”

African solar startups are certainly proving attractive currently. Kenyan startup M-KOPA Solar recently closed its fourth round of investment through a US$12.45 million equity and debt deal led by LGT Venture Philanthropy.

Ugandan startup SolarNow last year secured US$3 million in investment, while another East African solar provider benefitting from investment is Tanzania’s Off Grid Electric, which secured US$16 million in funding.

More investment into African solar is set to follow from the likes of the US-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) initiative, Dubai-based Access Power and French renewable energy investment firm EREN, and the City of Johannesburg.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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