The African solar industry is dominated by non-African companies. These develop their products outside Africa and produce them in China or India. However, the establishment of local solar companies, which work independently and are majority owned by domestic entrepreneurs, is important for sustainable job creation in the off-grid industry.
The number of African energy startups is steadily increasing. Their advantage over international companies is often their proximity to the specific social and cultural requirements of the new energy products.
However, local startups in Africa also have specific challenges to overcome. One of the biggest is their lack of visibility for cooperation partners and investors. The goal of Startup|Energy, an initiative of Stiftung Solarenergie and University Freiburg (Germany), is to increase this visibility and to support African startups in the development of their products through an accelerator programme.
The second Energy Camp was successfully concluded at the beginning of April 2022: 78 startups from 16 African countries applied to participate. As with the first Energy Camp (2021), only a few were allowed to participate.
We think that these African startups deserve not only attention, but above all partners and investors so that they can continue on their path – and thus help reduce the dominance of non-African companies to some extent.
Here are the startups from the two Energy Camps in alphabetic order:
- Innovation of Drop Access (Kenya) is the VacciBox: a portable solar-powered refrigerator that provides cold storage and safe transportation of vaccines and drugs. It also includes an innovative real time medical data management.
- Inno-Neat (Kenya) manufactures Solar Ready Repurposed Lithium Ion Batteries from recycled cells for use in Solar and E-mobility application. The startup thus offers a practical solution for the old batteries of Africa’s millions of solar home systems.
- SolarPipo (Uganda): a startup who makes solar accessible for the dairy sector. SolarPipo unburdens dairy customers’ process of acquiring solar for cooling, water pumps and other productive uses.
- Second Life Storage (Rwanda) builds energy storage systems from batteries salvaged from e-waste or retired from electric vehicles. The startup customizes battery packs for various market segments to provide power back-up and electricity bill savings through peak shaving and load shifting applications.
- Solakilimo (Kenya) provides solar powered cold rooms for fish, fruits and vegetable farmers on a pay-as-you preserve model. The solar-powered cold storage offers an ideal response as it adequately addresses the problem of post-harvest losses.
- Thinkbikes (Nigeria) manufactures electric road bikes and cargo bikes locally and makes them available for ride-share and lease to individuals and businesses in urban and rural communities to provide affordable, clean mobility.
- The so-called Solar-e-Cycles / TryKe (Kenya) produce their own electricity with sunlight and offer the rider a comparatively fast and comfortable means of transport thanks to the E-push. The bikes are to be used primarily in more remote regions where public power supply is still only available sporadically.
- Worldtech Consult (Ghana) designs, manufactures and brings to the market turn-key, modular, off-grid and hybrid cold chain solutions and rural electrification. Worldtech Consult generates impact, food safety, reliability and loss avoidance building sustainable, competitive agribusiness anywhere a truck can reach.
- Zuhura Solutions (Kenya): Their product, the Halisi Trolley, is a completely solar-powered street food vending trolley that allows vendors to eliminate the time and cost of sourcing and maintaining charcoal to heat their food.
If you want to learn more about some of the participants of the second Energy Camp, you should attend the webinar on 24 May 2022. More information here: https://startup-energy.org/s-e-events/startup-energy-camp2