Exclusive Interview With Jinko Solar General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa – Mr Jaffer Wang

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  • Jinko Solar is the largest solar panel manufacturer in the world in terms of cumulative global shipments boasting accolades for the highest quality and performance.
  • Green Building Africa has conducted an exclusive interview with Mr Jaffer Wang, Jinko Solar General Manager for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).
  • Mr Wang reveals exclusive insights into the company’s strategy for the region which includes market expansion, product offering diversification and improved service delivery.

If you could provide a brief introduction which includes your mandate, market under your responsibility plus strategy?

I was previously with Sinohydro with experience in road projects in Tanzania for around 4yrs. I joined JinkoSolar in 2015 with the primary role of growing market share in developing markets plus managing solar projects in developing countries, together with China stated owned companies.

Jinko strategy is to provide more localised and deeper services to the SSA region. As such, we have made the region an independent focus within Jinko, with the view to offering a broader range of products which include battery storage, solar pump systems and solar lighting. The idea is to provide a one stop solution to our customers. With the experience and understanding I have of the broader local context, I will be applying my energy to growing the solar market for Jinko.

What anticipated growth do you see over the next 5 years in the African continent for Jinko Solar and what is the companies market strategy for the continent?

Over the past few years we’ve seen increased appetite to solar PV in the African region. At the moment we only have South Africa & Egypt being part of the “Gigawatt club” which, with the current trend we ought to have more African countries joining this club in the next few years. With the growing demand our target at the moment is to service the continent sufficiently by using our existing and new distributors in strategic countries. Our desire is to have at least 40% market share in the next 5 years. We already have sales offices in Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and South Africa to serve the Africa region.

Will module pricing continue to come down and in the African context, what are the top technology trends best placed to drive module cost reduction while still improving performance?

The question of pricing of the PV modules is quite an interesting topic. Module prices were at the lowest ever in 2020. Module prices will generally be stable in 2021 and possibly go lower in 2022. MonoPERC is the top module technology at the moment due to its maturity and commercial viability. The industry has transitioned away from poly to mono wafer owing to the fact that polycrystalline cells reached a production ceiling with little chance to improve its efficiency and power output. 182 wafer size holds the biggest capacities in the industry now and are going to be mainstream in the market for at least 2021 & 2022. 182 is also having a competitive edge in that it is compatible with most of the inverters and trackers available in the market.

Stock availability, product shipping safety/insurance and delivery lead times have previously been a challenge for purchasing managers in Africa sourcing from China. What does Jinko Solar do to overcome these challenges? 

As production is in China we have strategic partnerships with shipping lines to ship our products to the SSA region. Lead time could be from 20 days to East Africa to 40 days to West Africa. We also have strategic partnerships with local agents to provide solutions to our customers in the region to provide an end to end solution. We also have a warehouse in Southern Africa to service the region and we supply to clients in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana within 7 days. We are also in the process of setting up warehouses in both West and East Africa to support our valued clients with a quicker transit time as from China.

What is the biggest inhibitor of growth in the solar PV market in Africa?

African Economic and livelihood has been strongly hold back by shortage of energy, and also the power grid is really limited, so solar, especially mini grid project is in high demand in this region. Even we can see the high potential of solar in this market, still we needed to understand the inhibitors of growth in solar PV market. First of the inhibitor, also the biggest inhibitor is the financial solution, as most of the projects is difficult to get financial support which lead to the delay or cancelation of projects. Also, the price of storage is high compare with other equipment. Jinko Solar has been a leading driver of technology to make production efficiency translate into lower prices for our customers. We see our product diversification offering also driving prices down to make solar energy available to all Africans.

Thank you Mr Wang, we are very grateful for your time.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal




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