HomeFeatures/AnalysisExclusive interview with Neil Borthwick, sales and marketing director, Poweroad Africa

Exclusive interview with Neil Borthwick, sales and marketing director, Poweroad Africa

Neil_BorthwickCan we start with a breakdown of the kind of work that Poweroad Africa does in the power and utilities sector across the continent?

Poweroad Africa is seen as a single source solution provider (SSSP) in the power and utilities sector in Africa. Our primary focus is the supply of electrical and energy products from generation through to plug point. We however, also assist with project management, project funding as well as EPC support through select partners.

Any specific projects that you are particularly excited about that you can share?

Yes, we have several projects we can mention happening in Africa.

  • We are partnering with Autoworld and Stanbic in Zambia to offer financed solar kits for residential homes which will range from 2.5 – 10 Kva
  • We are at the final stages of supplying Beta transformers to KPLC and Kengen in Kenya
  • We are involved in a rural electrification project just outside of Nairobi, Kenya with Powerhive to provide power to 20 000 homes
  • We are setting up Elmark/Solar solution stores (wholesaling LV and solar products) throughout Zimbabwe and have secured funding with IDBZ, NMB as well as have support from Zesa/Zent
  • We are involved in a Green Energy Schools Project in Zimbabwe which will provide PV solar power to schools in Zimbabwe. The first project/school is 1 MW.
  • We are involved in the NIASSA Rural Electrification Project with Seth to supply transformers in Mozambique
  • We have a two year partnership with Biorex Energy Solutions in South Africa to supply solar PV ranging from 10 – 40 MW in total over the two years

In your view, what are the main challenges to the energy sector in Africa?

Although there are many different challenges facing the energy sector in Africa, the biggest challenges we have identified are the finance and risk of energy projects. There is a lot of need for power in Africa and a lot of governments, utilities, LPUs are very keen to implement projects but there is no financing and the risk is too high for foreign investors.

What is your vision for this industry?

Poweroad Africa’s vision is to help facilitate the flow, distribution and storage of energy from generation through to plug point throughout Sub-Sahara Africa.

Poweroad Africa is a gold sponsor at African Utility Week again this year – why do you partner with us? 

Poweroad Africa believes in forming long standing partnerships in the industry and Spintelligent, the organiser of African Utility Week and EAPIC/WAPIC, is seen as one of those partners that will provide a platform and will give Poweroad Africa access to the relevant people and projects in the SSA energy sector.

What will be your message at the event?

Our message will be that we are open for business and are keen to work with government, utilities, LPUs, distributors in Africa with our world class products and services. It is key for the customer to have the right product and partner and Poweroad Africa sees itself as that partner with over 30 years’ experience in supplying products and solutions throughout Africa.

You also made a specific decision to be lead sponsor again at the awards this year –  Why this decision and how was the experience last year?

The African Utility Week Industry Awards is a fantastic sponsorship to promote the launch of Poweroad Africa to the energy sector. The networking and branding opportunities it creates to senior executives and decision-makers is an important aspect for Poweroad Africa and one that we plan to take full advantage of. Being associated with the Lifetime Achievement Award (probably the most prestigious award handed out at the dinner) as well as the post-event opportunities it creates are also another main reasons why we decided to go with the lead sponsorship again this year.

Anything else you would like to add?

Poweroad Africa is committed to the power and energy industry in Africa and as such we are constantly looking at ways of including new clean technology into our product and solution offering. We are busy finalizing an agreement with a technology that will be a game changer for Africa as it will provide clean biodiesel from waste. More on this will follow and hopefully we will be able to announce it at AUW 2016.