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Hanergy seeks foothold in African solar market

Hanergy Solar2
Hanergy signed an agreement with UNAids to partner on clean power projects in Africa.

Hanergy Group, Chinese solar energy company, which is seeking business across Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific, has signed a deal to supply 1GW of solar and wind power in Jordan.

According to the Financial Times, Hanergy’s vice-president said in June this year that a 400MW project in Ghana, equivalent to roughly one-fifth of that country’s installed power capacity, was “at a key stage”.

The thin film group hosted delegations from more than 20 developing countries earlier this year to promote its solar panels, even though shares in its Hong Kong-listed subsidiary have been suspended since May, when a half-hour plunge wiped out half its value.

Association with UNAids

In May, Hanergy signed an agreement with UNAids, an organisation that coordinates UN agencies’ work on Aids, to partner on clean power projects in Africa. The association with UNAids could help Hanergy connect with decision makers in African nations, sources close to the company said.

Hanergy’s interest in Africa comes as many countries line up their commitments to produce low-carbon energy ahead of an international meeting in Paris in December. The meeting is set to conclude with a deal to limit carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases that can cause global warming.

Hanergy registered net loss

The Financial Times detailed Hanergy’s heavy reliance on sales earlier this year between the parent and the listed unit and unusual trading patterns in the listed unit, Hanergy Thin Film Power.

Hanergy Group explained last month that it had cut 2,000 jobs as it registered a net loss in the first half, following the unwinding of contracts with the Beijing-based parent group.

One of the three Chinese companies that earlier this year entered agreements to buy Hanergy panels and shares in its listed unit has since backed out, stated the Financial Times.

In August, the listed unit, Hanergy Thin Film Power, sold its 25MW solar farm in California to the local power utility.

Solar power gaining ground

Generation from solar power is growing in popularity in some of the world’s poorest nations, since solar farms can be much smaller than traditional thermal power plants and still improve rural electrification rates.

However, the power generation is weather-dependent, and dust and sharp temperature changes in arid or desert regions can quickly reduce the panels’ performance.

To guard against deterioration over time, many purchasers require warranties that the panels will continue to perform near full efficiency for 10 years or more.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.