Powerway partners with Sungrow and InnoVent on major collaboration plans in Africa


Powerway Renewable Energy is building a major stake in local manufacturing in South Africa and using the base to expand business opportunities across the African continent. Having already announced a JV partnership with tier one PV manufacturer, JA Solar, to establish a PV module assembly plant in Port Elizabeth with an initial nameplate capacity of 150MW, Powerway has attracted Sungrow Power, the third largest PV inverter manufacturer in the world, to establish inverter manufacturing at the same facility.

Powerway has been operating as a PV project developer and PV systems integrator in South Africa for two years, one of a number of China-based PV manufacturers that have successfully won major supply orders under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). The programme has attracted major international project developers as well as leading component suppliers to establish satellite manufacturing operations in the country as over 1GW of PV projects were sanctioned under the first two REIPPPP rounds and several utility-scale projects were completed in 2013.

Due to the pipeline of projects that Powerway is undertaking in South Africa, the company noted that the Port Elizabeth facility would be operating a full capacity later in 2014, even though production would only start in second quarter of 2014. The Port Elizabeth facility will also be a key training and technical centre for manufacturing and support services for PV projects.

Rooftop leasing agreement

Powerway has also announced that it will partner with InnoVent Rental and Asset Management Solutions, a South African asset leasing company with operations in other African countries and the UK. Benson Wu, CEO of Powerway Renewable Energy, said, “With its irradiation resource second to none, South Africa is the best country to develop solar energy. With the net metering practice in place, added with our leasing model, I believe South Africa will be one of the biggest solar markets in the world. Powerway is proud to be part of it. ”

The companies plan to launch a pioneering lease finance initiative for solar PV rooftop power solutions for commercial, industrial, government and residential markets initially in South Africa but with plans to roll out the scheme across Africa. TÜV Rheinland, and insurance company, Marsh were said to have enrolled in the scheme to offer expert technical services.

The leasing model follows others well established in the US, which require no initial capital outlay with electricity payments below utility prices. Zakhe Khuzwayo, group CFO of InnoVent, said: “As far as access to affordable renewable energy is concerned, this partnership is a game changer. This space has just experienced a tectonic shift and will never be the same again in Africa.”

The combination of PV module, inverter and mounting systems manufacturing as well as the leasing scheme are expected to create around 2,500 jobs, according to Powerway, which could also attract a local strategic investor to the business.