The investments made by the three companies involved were deliberately selected from a field that is part of the core businesses of these companies: solar energy. Due to its high incidence of solar radiation, the African continent is an attractive, new market for solar power companies, although it still requires considerable development. The project partners have just succeeded in taking the first step in the right direction and have established important contacts. Further projects are already in the planning.
The guests of honor at the opening ceremony included the Senegalese Minister for Renewable Energies, Prof. Christian Sina Diatta, as well as a number of representatives from German institutions. The participation of these political figures and the conclusion that the project partners have come to underscore the significance of this event: they plan to continue their work in Senegal and to invest in building a solar market. In this first project, SCHOTT Solar and SMA joined forces with KAÏTO Energie AG. KAÏTO has already been developing and investing in business-oriented projects in the Senegalese province of Casamance for several years. Together, the companies selected a project in Casamance. “As an important local provider of medical care, it is essential for the hospital in Baïla to have a stable power supply. After all, the staff as well as the patients there must be able to rely on having light and using technical equipment,” said Dr. Martin Heming, CEO of SCHOTT Solar AG, explaining this decision. To guarantee this for the future, SCHOTT Solar has donated photovoltaic modules and SMA a so-called Sunny back-up system to the hospital in Baïla. “Our Sunny back-up system is a valuable addition to the photovoltaic power system because, in the event of a power failure, it switches the system to the stand-alone power supply, making the hospital able to operate independently of the existing, but very unreliable power grid,” commented Michael Wollny, Island Systems project manager at SMA Solar Technology AG.
A win-win situation all around
“Electricity is the basic prerequisite for sustainable development in Africa,” said Wolfgang Hofstätter, CEO of KAÏTO Energie AG, and continued: “Without electricity, it is very difficult to create added value anywhere to allow new local companies to grow. Sustainable development like this requires a functioning infrastructure. And electricity is the basis.” Both Senegal and the companies involved benefit from the investment made in the solar energy supply in Africa. After all, the more rapidly the African economy can develop, the more demand there will be there for renewable energies. “We are helping the African market to develop by already supporting its economic structure today,” Heming said. The companies involved are firmly convinced that this project will be more than a lighthouse project. That is why there are more such projects already in the planning. Among other things, KAÏTO is planning to build a chain of village energy kiosks, which will be operated by local small businessmen in a franchise system. Each kiosk will be equipped with a central PV recharging station for such battery-operated devices as lamps and cell phones. The operators will provide information on energy efficiency and supplementary solutions, sell PV consumer goods, spare parts and energy-saving appliances and offer simple installation services.
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About the project partners:
SCHOTT Solar’s high quality products exploit the virtually inexhaustible potential of the sun as a renewable source of energy. For this purpose SCHOTT Solar produces important components for photovoltaic applications and solar energy plants with parabolic trough technology. In the photovoltaic industry, the company is one of the few integrated manufacturers of crystalline silicon wafers, solar cells and photovoltaic modules. Wafer production is mainly carried out through a WACKER SCHOTT Solar joint venture, which ensures the supply of silicon necessary for long-term growth. Thanks to over 20 years of experience in thin-film technology, SCHOTT Solar also regards itself as one of the industry’s cutting-edge companies. In receiver production for solar power plants with parabolic trough technology, SCHOTT Solar considers itself to be the market and technology leader. The receivers are key components in large-scale power plants that generate electricity from solar energy centrally on the basis of parabolic trough technology and can supply entire cities with power. SCHOTT Solar has production facilities in Germany, the Czech Republic, the USA and Spain. SCHOTT Solar’s innovative power and technological expertise date back to the late 1950s. SCHOTT Solar AG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the international SCHOTT technology group. SCHOTT develops special materials, components and systems for the household appliance, pharmaceutical, solar energy, electronics, optical and automotive industries. With around 16,700 employees, the SCHOTT Group generated a worldwide turnover of about 2.1 billion euros in fiscal year 2006/2007.
SMA Solar Technology AG
With sales amounting to €327m (2007), SMA is the world’s market leader in photovoltaic inverters, a central component in every solar power system. The SMA Group has its head offices in Niestetal near Kassel, Germany, and is represented by foreign subsidiaries in eight countries on four continents around the world. The corporate group employs more than 2,500 employees (incl. temporary employees). SMA produces a wide range of inverter models for every type of photovoltaic module used and all sizes of photovoltaic systems. The product portfolio includes inverters for on-grid solar power installations as well as for stand-alone systems.
KAÏTO Energie AG invests in modern infrastructure for rural electrification. Different types of power generators drawing on renewable energies were developed in villages to provide power on a widespread scale. Based on solar-powered energy kiosks and individual installations, regional networks (AC mini grids) are created that gain their energy from local sources like the sun and biomass. KAÏTO operates all the systems independently with a local workforce.
KAÏTO Projekt GmbH specialises in sustainable investments in West Africa. KAÏTO offers customised project development and investment consultancy services to companies that are investing in Africa themselves, or would like to become involved in actual projects. All projects foster rural development and comply with sustainability criteria.
KAÏTO has had its own subsidiary in Senegal since July 2008.
SCHOTT Solar GmbH
Press and Public Relations
Tel: +49 (0)6023 - 91 1811
Fax: +49 (0)6023 - 91 1700
KAÏTO Projekt GmbH
Tel: +49 (0)89 5454 6147
Fax: +49 (0)89 5454 6152
SMA SolarTechnology A
Director Sales Off-Grid Solutions
Tel: +49 (0)561 9522-4122
Fax: +49 (0)561 9522-100