This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.
Since the start of this year, SMA France has taken on responsibility for sales in the French-speaking countries of West Africa. After all, France and the Francophone African countries have close historical ties and maintain extensive trade relationships. Furthermore, West Africa lies in the earth’s sun belt and benefits from excellent solar irradiation, and so it made sense for the French Solar Academy to hold various technical workshops and a PV conference in this region.
The event: Dakar, the capital of Senegal, mid-October. “There’s a great need for training here because people have less access to technical knowledge,” notes Emmanuel Foulon, an engineer and Solar Academy trainer. “But these gatherings are very educational for us as well. Through direct interaction on-site, we learn more about these emerging markets. For example, plant design takes a completely different approach in West Africa than in Europe. In Europe, planning is typically based on identified needs whereas in Africa planners adapt to production.”
Building Know-how in an Emerging Market
The seminar participants, most of whom were experienced technical staff, completed two training workshops. On the first day, the installers and sales representatives – functions more sharply differentiated in Africa – received training on grid feed-in, while the second day’s sessions familiarized them with stand-alone grids. “We’re very grateful for this training,” said Mouhamadou Sow, technical manager at Station Energy Senegal, expressing his satisfaction with the event. “It was extremely important because the photovoltaics market in Senegal is on the rise and SMA products lead the market here.”
First PV Conference in Senegal
But why did we decide to hold the seminars in Dakar? The market potential in Senegal is greater, and also more stable, than in any other African country where SMA operates. Dakar, as its business capital, possesses the necessary infrastructure for such an event, and many investors and customers are located there. To a certain extent, the choice was obvious. We decided on Senegal because the country has such strong prospects for growth. And so we were particularly gratified that almost 200 participants attended the conference we organized. They included many academics, members of Senegal’s Energy Ministry and of other institutions working to promote electrification in Senegal’s rural areas. This meeting of experts was among the first events of its kind in Africa.
https://old.sma-sunny.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/SMA-France_group-1.jpg8501134Leonie Blume/wp-content/themes/enfold-child/images/SMA-LOGO-Color_s-1.pngLeonie Blume2012-11-27 09:08:492012-11-27 09:08:49Training Initiative in West Africa