Starting out as a two-man band in Port Louis, Mauritius, James Irons and David McDonald co-founded a solar energy company SolarAfrica, then known as NVI Energy, in November 2011.
With a vision to become a solar energy enabler and influencer, they celebrated their first small office in Calebasses, Mauritius where they welcomed their first staff member who still works for the company today, Preeti Ragoobar.
After the successful installation of Kenya’s first solar power purchase agreement (PPA), the company rebranded to SolarAfrica and launched its new logo and slogan The Better Energy Choice.
On 10 November this year, the company marked its ten-year celebration in the solar industry. Not only do they get to celebrate the success of their business, but they get to celebrate the significant relationships that they have built with their customers, suppliers and partners, alongside their dynamic team who have made it all possible, the company announced in a press statement.
Awarding solar energy growth
By early 2016, the team had grown to 13 staff members, moved to a new office in Mauritius and launched another office in Centurion, South Africa where their solar PPA solution was brought to life.
After launching their residential solar solution for complexes and retirement homes, their vision of saving customers money with a Capex-free solar energy solution gained acclaim. Charl Alheit soon joined the team as Chief Investment Officer, playing an instrumental role in fueling the company’s growth.
Winning a prestigious Frost & Sullivan Award in 2016 for the South African Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award, set things in motion and propelled the team to wanting more. In 2017, SolarAfrica went on to deliver East Africa’s largest industrial solar system, Krystalline Salt Limited and funded the largest battery system in Africa which also happened to be the first Tesla PowerPack installed in Africa.
SolarAfrica continued to grow year on year and by 2019 the team had delivered and financed over 80 projects across five countries. The ambitious trend continued the following year they signed and constructed one of the largest solar carports in the world for Ford Motor Company.
The company’s latest achievement came on 16 November, named as the continent’s leading solar energy firm by the Africa Solar Industry Association’s (AFSIA’s) African Solar Company of the Year award. The ceremony was held in London UK.
AFSIA’s annual Solar Awards recognises exceptional talent and achievements in the African solar market, celebrating companies and individuals that have made an ‘outstanding’ contribution to promoting and advancing the use of solar across Africa through good practice, professionalism, quality, safety and innovation.
Read about the solar carport here:
East African carport solar PV project reaches completion