Solar assembly plant on the way

Ethiopia might soon have its very own assembly Plant for a variety of solar powered and environmentally friendly products. The Plant will manufacture solar panels with the ability to generate up to 60 watts of electricity, Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps which use a fraction of the energy incandescent or even fluorescent bulbs use, charge controllers, and more.
Samson Tsegaye, Country Director for The Solar Energy Foundation, said an area has already been set aside at the “Solar Valley” for an exhibition and training center in the Burayu Zone of the Oromia Region just outside Addis Ababa.  The Solar Valley lies on 15,000 square meters of land in the Tatek Industrial Park. “We expect the assembly line financing and investment to come from solar companies that may be interested in investing in the project,” said Samson, adding that the foundation’s  job is to facilitate the work by offering training, technical expertise, and any other assistance that might be needed along the way.
Once financing is secured, it will take an estimated 6 months and 5 million dollars to construct and hire up to 200 staff members that will be needed to run the assembly line. This project is expected to benefit rural households, of which only an estimated two percent currently have access to electricity. The remaining customers are projected to include the urban population and organizations from the public and private sectors. 
Samson says there are some areas in which the government can help people and companies wanting to invest in this emerging solar market. He claimed that there is some confusion concerning the application of taxes and duties on solar products and indicated that components for solar equipment are subjected to taxes while completed solar products are exempt from such taxes.
The Solar Energy foundation is an international Non Governmental Organization (NGO) established in Germany in 2005 with the primary goal of providing electricity to rural communities using solar energy technology. Its first project started in 2006 in Northern Shoa, Rhema village, which has a population of 10,000; it now has 2100 households using solar-powered electricity, making it the largest village in Ethiopia using solar electricity.
The foundation has expanded its scope to include the provision of training solar technicians, with trainees coming from all over the country, and has a revolving fund scheme in which around 20,000 solar lighting systems were distributed to the four main regional states: Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR).

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