Now Time To Explore Renewable Energy Manufacturing In Africa

African Solar PV Manufacturing Can Be Cost Competitive With China, Says SEForALL In New Report On African Renewable Energy Manufacturing Potential
Morocco leads the list of nations with medium or high feasibility to manufacture renewable energy products, according to SEforALL’s new report. (Source: Sustainable Energy for All)
Morocco leads the list of nations with medium or high feasibility to manufacture renewable energy products, according to SEforALL’s new report. (Source: Sustainable Energy for All)
  • SEforALL has launched a new initiative called AREMI to help mobilize investment and action for African renewable energy manufacturing
  • In a report exploring the potential for the same, it identifies Morocco, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania as the ones with medium or high feasibility to localize solar or battery storage production
  • Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa, Morocco and Algeria were found to have 'immediate feasibility' for solar PV manufacturing
  • China as the main trade partner for African nations can help them scale up their manufacturing efforts

The African continent has the potential to install 180 GW renewable energy capacity by 2030 and 1.2 TW by 2050 and to get there, it needs to scale up its manufacturing capabilities with a helping hand from its main trade partner China, says Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) that has launched the Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative (AREMI) to mobilize investment in the space.

Backed by the African Climate Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, ClimateWorks Foundation, and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), AREMI has been set up to drive investment and mobilize action in African nations to this end.

Solar stays big on the list of renewable energy technologies in the continent since it is expected to account for 650 GW power generation capacity by 2050 (out of its overall potential for 10 TW) which means it can become a global green manufacturing hub with local supply chains.

Throw in other renewable energy technologies as hydro, wind and geothermal, and the continent can generate up to 14 million energy transition jobs by 2030, says SEforALL in a report titled Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing: Opportunity and Advancement.

The report looks at renewables manufacturing in Africa from the perspective of the Chinese renewable energy industry players. Analysts identified 10 opportunities with high level of readiness for 'successfully localizing renewables manufacturing' with 4 in solar PV and battery materials, 3 only in solar PV assembly and 3 only in battery materials refining.

Markets having medium or high feasibility to localize solar or battery storage production were discovered as Morocco, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania as the 1st wave of countries explored for the purpose.

On a scale measuring 7 aspects of renewable energy demand, manufacturing maturity, political stability, policies and regulations, trade relations with China, enabling infrastructure and ability to export, Morocco tops the list with 7/7 assessment.

Africa can jump start solar PV manufacturing with cell manufacturing and module assembly, launching polysilicon and wafer production at a later date when the ecosystem is right, report writers suggest. For this technology, the 5 countries of Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa, Morocco and Algeria were found to have 'immediate feasibility' for solar PV manufacturing.

Africa's 'main trade partner' China can lend a helping hand here with its experience of being the world's leading market for renewable manufacturing. "Due to its strength in renewables and existing trade ties, China's prominent competitive players and companies are the highest potential partners in scaling up manufacturing in Africa," reads the report.

<em>SEforALL's report expects African solar PV manufacturing as having the potential to be cost competitive with China. (Source: Sustainable Energy for All)</em>
SEforALL's report expects African solar PV manufacturing as having the potential to be cost competitive with China. (Source: Sustainable Energy for All)

To help Africa set up an industrial ecosystem for renewable energy manufacturing, AREMI will focus on capacity building, knowledge transfer, policy dialogues and advocacy. Its key mandate is to partner with government officials to support their green manufacturing friendly regulatory environment, build local workforce, attract green manufacturers to the continent, and incubate African green manufacturing projects and policies with end-to-end grant support.

"Developing Africa's green manufacturing capabilities is one of the key strategies to fostering growth, producing decent employment opportunities, and eradicating poverty while ensuring that Africa is not left behind in the global energy transition agenda," said Ghana's Energy Minister Matthew Opoku Prempeh during the report's launch recently.

SEforALL's complete report can be downloaded for free on its website.

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