African Delegates Travel Far To Come To Solar Power International


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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It was wonderfully fortuitous that one of our interviews on the last day of Solar Power International (SPI) 2012 took place near a group of Southern African delegates, accompanied by an U.S. Embassy Commercial Officer, Aaron Karnell.  Here is a perfect example of our global economy,  the bloom is ready to blossom;all it needs is the nourishment of collaboration.

“You might wonder why the American government would get involved in helping African solar professionals access to SPI. The reason is, getting them here is a win-win for everyone: African firms are seeking to grow their industry in their home countries, and they have come here to take advantage of the latest U.S. technology and falling prices. At the same time, the solar industry in America–and America’s economic recovery–is being driven in large part by exports and Africa is a wide open market for US goods and services. The solar industry here just needs the right contacts with potential African partners.” Mr./Officer Karnell said.

Some points worth noting, below, were shared by Mr./Officer Aaron Karnell:

–Eight solar power firm owners and operators from five Southern African countries attended the Solar Power International (SPI) conference in Orlando, Florida this week. Firm owners from Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia met with potential U.S. technology and investment partners, heard from industry experts on the state of the industry, and checked out the latest products on the market from the more than 1,200 exhibitors at the conference. Working with Maryland-based Elan International, the delegates’ attendance at the conference was facilitated by the U.S. Embassy in Botswana and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Southern Africa Trade Hub.

—The African delegates have come to SPI ready to find U.S. partners and make new deals. Tamuka Kaseke, of South Africa’s AE-AMD Independent Power, for example, has recently been licensed by the South African government to develop a 30MW solar project with other projects in the pipeline, and he’s now looking for an opportunity to link up with EPC contractors and buy solar components for his solar parks. Clearly impressed with American design, technology, and yes–prices–Kaseke has talked with dozens of exhibitors and learned about financing options from The U.S. Export-Import Bank, among others. “I love what I’m seeing here,” he said.

–The three delegates from Botswana have been equally impressed. Felix Chavaphi, who owns the Botswana firm, Energy Systems, observed, “At this conference I’m seeing the state of the art.” But he qualified the remark: “I have been surprised at how few Africans are here. Africa represents a new, potentially important market for solar products. Many African governments and private sector partners are ready to buy, and policies such as feed-in tariffs are being developed. Yet it doesn’t seem the solar industry here has many African partners yet. I feel privileged because I’m getting a lot of attention here.”

–The group is the first U.S. Government-sponsored delegation to SPI from the Southern African region, which represents a market of more than 277 million people.

I was quite fortunate today at SPI to have the opportunity to interview some of the members of the Southern African delegates Reginald Selelo of USAID, Shelvin Longmire from Elan International and Mr./Officer Aaron Karnell (only one with tie). will be seen in the video clip below:

And even more fortunate to have the luck of running into the whole delegates on the way out of the Orange County Convention Center at the end of the day.

From L to R: Dr. Tamuka Keseke (AE-AMD of South Africa), Walter Kgabung (BPC-Lesedi of Botswana), Susan Sun Nunamaker, Norbert Dorgeloh (Alternative Energy Systems of Namibia), Felix Chavaphi (Solahart of Botswana), Aaron Karnell (Department of State), Shelvin Longmire (Elan International USA), Reginald Seleo (USAID), Patrick Kolala (Notch Resources Limited of Zambia)

I wish all the delegate members and Officer Karnell a smooth return journey to Southern Africa and that there will be much more cooperative commerce/blooms across the Atlantic, all in the effort of sharing the sunshine.

More posts on Solar Power International (SPI)2012 will be forthcoming.
~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, interviewed, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,

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