PV Modules in Africa – from Blue Sea to Red Sea
In November 2017, Photovoltaic News told a story of a penniless farmer who went to Africa to sell PV modules and became a legend in billionaire after five years. At that time, the African photovoltaic market was full of gold. But what is the current situation?
Intro of the African Photovoltaic Market
According to the 2017 edition of the BP Statistical Yearbook on World Energy, Africa generated only 3 percent of the world’s electricity in 2016. Africa still has about 600 million people that live without electricity, more than half of the total African population. So we can judge that the African PV market is huge.
East African PV markets such as Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, and Mali are highly competitive. However, Markets in West Africa such as Nigeria (Africa’s largest economy), Congo, South Africa, Zambia, and Senegal are less competitive.
It is worth mentioning that Congo has a particularly high demand for photovoltaic modules, and there the prices of modules are relatively high. However, Congo seems to be extremely unfriendly to the Chinese people and has a poor business environment. At the same time, the security of the Congo is poor, and there is often the phenomenon of robbing.
At present, the African PV market is mainly controlled by the Chinese, the Indians and Pakistanis, and part of the local Africans themselves. The Chinese have the advantage of sourcing, while the Africans have the advantage of selling, networking and so on. But now more and more PV module enterprises have come to Africa and set up offices and branches, and the competition is becoming much fiercer.
New PV Modules are Impacted by the Dismantled and Second-hand Ones
Life is always full of ups and downs, Photovoltaic News learned that the African PV market is impacted by dismantled PV modules and second-hand ones. Many PV traders have been losing money now. Because dismantled PV modules could be collected at a cut-down price; after cleaning and packaging, they still can make money, which results in never-easy-to-sell the new PV modules.
The African market has the following features: PV modules are mostly sold in wattage in Africa as well as in pieces. When Africans buy PV modules in wattage, they like to buy larger, less efficient modules; and when buying in pieces, for the same size, the lower the price, the better. As a result, dismantled and used PV modules are popular in Africa, which has impacted the sale of new modules a lot.
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