Sterling and Wilson show Africa the way out of its energy predicament

A lot has been said in terms of government commitment; a lot has been spent by government and private investors; a lot has been structured and restructured in providing the right policies to drive growth in the power sector. Yet, Africa remains the continent with the most energy deficit.

The continent is home to 15 percent of the world’s total population but, once traditional biomass is excluded, its per capita energy consumption is just one-sixth of the global average, according to a report by This is Africa. Over 500 million people across the continent, including its largest economy in Nigeria and its most developed in South Africa, lack access to sustainable energy as most countries continue to grapple with decayed infrastructure and poor investment. Despite cognitive initiatives including the highly lauded Power Africa Initiative, which saw a group of investors, canopied under an Obama-led campaign to invest $7 billion into Africa’s ailing power sector, electricity remains a luxury for many, especially those living in rural settlements.

Bridging this deficit, according to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, will require significant infusion of what he terms “New Energy” into a comprehensive drive to ramp up. With experts stating that Africa would require to spend in excess of $10 billion annually to build its power infrastructure to meet growing demand, Mr Adesina has made no secret of his desire to see investors flood the African market with power projects, which he believes will fast-track economic growth and spur job creation.

One firm seemingly keen to support both of Mr Adesina’s desires is Sterling and Wilson. The Indian-based global solar EPC solution provider has revealed plans to kick-start its aggressive expansion in Africa with the launch of its operations in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub.  It plans to set up four offices in Africa by end of 2016, beginning with Lagos, Nigeria, before moving to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, followed by Kenya and Ghana, though it already has substantial presence in Cape Town and Cairo.

The highlight of this expansion drive, however is that its plans to execute EPC works for a 500MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants across different parts of Africa in the next three years, and would pursue this with the use of only local talents, ensuring that it creates sustainable job opportunities for locals in its operation bases. “We believe Sterling and Wilson is well positioned for expansion as more investors are focusing aggressively on the African Solar Market” stated Bikesh Ogra, President, Solar EPC business for Sterling and Wilson. “The industry is growing rapidly and we will continue to expand strategically to meet demand.”

With solar power uptake on the African continent predicted to surge over the coming years – 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar installations are forecasted by 2030 – the expansion is clearly intended to ride the growing wave of the grid connected solar energy market.  Sterling and Wilson is confident to attain market leader position supported by their proven track record and global reputation.

The company provides 360 degree turnkey solutions adapted to each customer’s individual needs that exceed customer expectations, transforming solar energy into green assets by maximizing value and mitigating risks.

The company is already working on number of opportunities with various developers in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Mozambique, Algeria, Namibia and Morocco along with South Africa and Egypt. The Indian firm has more than 500 MW of operational solar plants and another 1500 MW of projects under pipeline.

With its latest announcement, Africa has renewed hope again that sustainable and clean energy is an achievable target.

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