There is a growing awareness among African governments and policymakers to accelerate the transition to renewable energy as part of the global initiative to reduce carbon emissions. While some countries are installing new equipment, others are retrofitting and greening their existing electricity fleets and systems to achieve this key milestone.
International Renewable Energy Agency’s director-general, Adnan Amin, expressed satisfaction about the pace at which African countries are embracing renewables as alternative sources of energy. Solar energy is among one of the fastest growing sectors and the continent is experiencing a growth of over 1. 8W of new solar installation with five countries South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia and Ghana driving the growth. Early this month, Cleanergy Solutions Namibia has been awarded the JCOI/PTX grant to set up a Hydrogen pilot plant and refuelling station on the coast of Namibia, making Walvis Bay the first hydrogen port on the African continent.
Providing energy in off-grid areas
Sandra Chukwudozie, a green energy enthusiast and a fervent entrepreneur, has noticed this enticing phenomenal growth of alternative energy. She is the founder and the chief executive officer of Salpha Energy which focuses on under-served homes and businesses located in rural and urban areas. Based in Nigeria, the company is one of the leading technology and renewable entities that provides stand-alone solar home systems to homes and businesses in off-grid areas in Africa. In addition, the Salpha Energy develops, produces, distributes and also finances a variety of solar home system products from small and medium enterprises to larger productive use systems.
Global quality assurance standards
With Salpha Energy, Chukwudozie also aims to tackle one of the biggest challenges that bedevil the solar energy industry in Africa: influx of cheap and substandard products. Hers aims to produce safe, affordable, and durable equipment in the market. She complies with quality assurance standards laid by the World Bank. Her products are also certified under the VeraSol Global Quality Assurance Framework. These requirements are aimed at ensuring that Salpha Energy’s products have a lasting impact on off-grid communities by selecting products that meet their needs.
Channelling youth’s energy and passion
Chukwudozie says the motivation to form Salpha Energy was the realisation that approximately 600-million people – most of them are women and live in the sub-Saharan African – are unable to access clean energy. “I also wanted to channel the energy, passion and intelligence of the youth across the African continent towards accelerating access to clean energy,” says Chukwudozie. She currently employs 30 people, mostly young people who are passionate to make impact in their communities. She says as the leader of the company her main priority is to create an organisational culture as well as cultivate values that energise the company and also promote professionalism and the spirit of camaraderie.
Providing poor communities with cheap energy
Chukwudozie hails her entrepreneurial parents who started their own small business from scratch and built it into an empire with portfolios ranging from oil and gas, manufacturing to real estate. She says they instilled in her business values and the ability to identify and explore new business opportunities. “Naturally, growing up in such a household inspired me and instilled considerable pro-business values in me, helping me realise that through our commercial endeavours, we can very much have a positive influence on other people’s lives,” says Chukwudozie. She feels there is an urgent need to expand and serve poor communities on the African continent with clean and affordable energy. She set herself an ambitious target of providing 30 million people across the African continent with access to carbon free energy by 2030.
Chukwudozie’s future plan is to expand Salpha Energy’s footprint in the region – countries across western, eastern, and southern Africa. In addition, she also aims to forge more global partnerships across the value chain as well as hiring the right people with appropriate skills and expertise for Salpha Energy. “I am proud to con
tribute towards creating products and building the next generation of Africans ushering in a fresh paradigm to the challenges of energy access in Africa,” says upbeat Chukwudozie.