Ubbink East Africa, Centrotec Sustainable's Dutch subsidiary, has opened East Africa's first PV module factory in Naivasha, Kenya. Ubbink plans to produce around 30,000 modules a year, with the majority of these being used to cater for the growing number of small-scale systems in Africa.
“Our solar factory – the first in the whole of East and Central Africa – is also kick starting local industry,” Ubbink East Africa CEO Haijo Kuper said. “Within the space of a year, we managed to qualify more than 30 employees for a technology that is completely new for East Africa and which is our contribution to the continent's ongoing development.”
All employees at Naivasha were initially trained in the Netherlands. This has ensured a smooth start to production and the new factory is already producing more than 100 KEBS (Kenya Bureau of Standards) certified panels a day.
Figures from both business and politics, including the foreign affairs committee of the Dutch parliament, attended the opening of the new factory, which Centrotec views as integral in not just gaining a foothold in this growing market but also as part of its wider social responsibility.
“As a socially responsible and aware group, we see our involvement on the African continent as an obligation of our social role of using our 'European Engineering Made in Africa' solar modules to create climate friendly, local power generation solutions and contribute to a sustainable development of the region.” Centrotec’s CEO, Gert-Jan Huisman, added.