A bigger investment in skills development in solar market technology could help create jobs in countries such as Kenya through partnerships with foreign companies that control the industry, a United Nations agency has suggested.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has asked authorities to develop skills that will enable the youth to get jobs and increase participation of domestic companies in solar panel supply chains.
“Growth in the solar panel market provides a vast opportunity for the economy through private sector development and job creation. However, much of the market is held by internationally owned companies,” UNCTAD said in a new report.
“Most domestic companies operate in services, offering project-development services, consultancy, and after-sales services.”
Kenya enacted the Energy (Local Content) Regulations 2014 to, among other things, promote domestic solar photovoltaic manufacturing.
Capital investments in upwards of $200 million (about Sh29.6 billion under the prevailing exchange rate) for greenfield solar panel manufacturing plants have lowered the bankability of projects with a capacity of less than three megawatts, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency.
“Future expansion in industrial parks promises to grow business opportunities for domestic companies and employment in the solar panel supply chain,” UNCTAD states.
A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa showed earlier that a one-megawatt mini-grid plant creates about 800 full-time jobs in a year.