opinionBy Kaleyesus Bekele
A Chinese firm, Shenzhen Lemi Technology, has unveiled various solar technologies that it plans to supply to the Ethiopian market.
The Shenzhen-based company displayed solar powered appliances that charge mobile phones, power bulbs, radio, TV and other home gadgets. The company also manufactures and supplies solar street lights. A number of Ethiopian companies engaged in importing solar products participated in the conference and exhibition held on Monday at Capital Hotel.
At the launching ceremony representatives of Shenzhen Lemi disclosed that they want to provide quality certified solar products to the East African market in collaboration with local solar companies.
Founder of Shenzhen Lemi Technology, Joyce Chen, said that the company has been supplying quality certified solar products since 2004. Chen said that cheap inferior quality solar products have flooded the market and this has eroded the public confidence. However, she said that Shenzhen Lemi supplies certified solar products in collaboration with the World Bank IFC. “Shenzhen Lemi is able to provide cost effective and reliable solar products to the African market,” she said.
The company affirmed its commitment to supply affordable off grid technologies particularly for rural communities.
Aster Miheret Zewdie, World Bank IFC Lighting Ethiopia program director, said that her organization is dedicated to off grid technologies. Aster noted that 75 percent of Ethiopian population (75 million people) is living without access to grid electric. “Rural communities deserve quality solar technologies. That is why we are supporting the private sector to supply quality solar technologies,” Aster said.
According to Aster, the cost of grid connectivity is very high. “We are trying to find more economical and viable technologies to the market. Our objective is to increase access to clean energy.”
She noted that the World Bank IMF is supporting to enhance the capacity of distributers, clean energy providers and assist the private sector to have access to finance to import quality certified solar products. In an effort to create enabling environment World Bank IFC is working with the private sector, Ministry of Finance, Water and Energy, Ethiopian Solar Development Association, GIZ and other stakeholders.
Aster revealed that the World Bank IFC Lighting Ethiopia Program has allocated 40 million dollars to promote quality solar products in the Ethiopian market. “We are trying to address the forex issue and enable solar product importers to import quality verified products. The amount of fund allocated is a peanut compared to the high forex demand but we are lubricating the supply chain,” she said.
According to Aster, the World Bank’s program has facilitated USD 11 million consumer loan for rural communities’ households. The program in collaboration with the public and private sector has reached 8.5 million people. “The use of clean energy is reducing the green gas emission emanating from kerosene and bio mass. This is a big deal for us.”
Representatives of Shenzhen Lemi disclosed that they will facilitate installment payment arrangements for rural communities.