Precise Consult, a private consulting firm specializing in the areas of agro-industry, off-grid energy, and development policy innovations, has launched a program to assemble and manufacture 250,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) and 25,000 Productive Use Energy (PUE) appliances, the latter with a focus on Solar pumps.
The announcement event took place at Hyatt Regency and is intended to support the initiatives of the Ministry of Irrigation & Lowlands, and the Ministry of Water & Energy to facilitate solar appliances manufacturing in Ethiopia.
The Shell Foundation-funded Solar Appliance Manufacturing program will collaborate with important stakeholders to address the major bottlenecks in the off-grid manufacturing industry, with a particular focus on:
- Facilitating increased access to foreign exchange for manufacturers and assemblers;
- Providing technical assistance to high-potential lighting and productive use energy (PUE) manufacturers and assemblers chosen based on predetermined criteria and a grand challenge selection process.
- Encouraging better off-grid solar system assembly and production policies and rules
- Better sector information thanks to research and market intelligence
According to Precise, up to 7millon hectares of smallholder farms can be irrigated using solar pumps but need access to water lifting devices which are, in turn, dependent on reliable and affordable energy. Electrifying irrigation reportedly has the potential to create an annual value of $1.2 billion by 2025. However, Ethiopia needs $1.4billion in new forex plus USD 1.8billion in local currency working capital to meet the universal electrification target by 2025.
By making the most of the available foreign exchange, local assembly and manufacture can expand the accessibility of solar equipment. According to studies cited by Precise, doing so can save 20–25% on foreign exchange and speed up access, potentially saving the country hundreds of millions of dollars. In the meanwhile, a developing manufacturing sector may support job creation and guarantee knowledge transfer to young, qualified professionals to maintain and repair the nation’s faltering solar power installations.
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