Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Solar firm courts Kenya sales

A Delaware solar assembly and installation company is looking to Kenya as a possible expansion market, hedging against a patchwork of short-term solar incentives in this country. he Kenyan ambassador to Washington was at Wise Power Systems near the Port of Wilmington on Monday, touring the facility and discussing a potential partnership.

Wise Power is considering exporting its “Sun-in-One” easy solar installation kits to Kenya, and would need that country’s cooperation to become part of its rural electrification project. Wise Power is giving some longer-term consideration to assembling the kits in Kenya, officials there say.

The parts for Wise Power’s current solar arrays are made in China and the United States, assembled in Delaware and transported to installation sites in this region.

William Rawheiser, Wise’s president, said Kenya represents a way to diversify his business in the face of unpredictable solar incentives from the U.S. government. Some states have stronger financial incentives than others, and a key federal price support for the industry is set to expire at year’s end.

Rawheiser said it’s rewarding to help bring electricity to impoverished rural areas, as it did with solar installations in rural, impoverished African nation of Equatorial Guinea, which were sponsored by that government.

“I’ve never had American customers stand up and cheer when we turned the system on,” Rawheiser said. “You’re making a difference in people’s lives, and making money at the same time.” The company has 16 full-time permanent employees, and was founded in Delaware seven years ago.

The Kenyan ambassador, Elkanah Odembo, said only about 20 percent of the Kenyan population has access to electricity, and in rural areas, only 2 percent to 3 percent have electricity.

The Kenyan government has set a goal of having the entire nation electrified by renewable energy by 2030.

“For us, it’s a tremendous opportunity,” Odembo said.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., met the ambassador during Monday’s event. Coons, who spent time in Kenya while he was in college, noted that the region is an ideal candidate for renewable energy. Kenya has “lots of sunshine, lots of wind,” and no oil or natural-gas reserves, Coons said. “I saw what a dramatically different country it is when the power comes on, the power comes off,” Coons said. It made it difficult for anyone in that country to make plans, he said.

Kenya and other African nations are ideal targets for solar energy, in which small, locally sited power systems don’t have to rely on a distribution grid, said Brian Yerger, president of the Wilmington alternative-energy consulting firm AERCA Advisors.

“There’s literally a hundred reasons why you could do something like that,” Yerger said. But “the largest problem is who’s going to pay for it.”

Several nongovernmental organizations are helping fund the Kenyan government’s rural electrification efforts.

Michael Haney, Wise Power’s director of global operations, said his company stands to make a profit by selling the carbon offsets generated by the solar panels. The offsets can be sold in the United Kingdom, he said.

Wise Power officials will visit Africa as part of a U.S. Chamber of Commerce trade delegation starting Feb. 19. Company officials will meet separately with Kenyan government officials during the trip, and visit neighboring countries to talk about selling solar there, too, Haney said.

Wise Power Systems Partners with Grape Solar



Wilmington, DE–To help Ontario, Canada continue to move its green economy forward, Wise Power Systems, a Wilmington, DE-based green energy company, is partnering with Grape Solar to manufacture and market pre-assembled ready to install solar power PV kits in Ontario. Wise will use the PV solar panels manufactured by Grape Solar in the design and engineering of the complete pre-assembled kits.
“Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act has sparked the rising demand for solar powered energy by making it environmentally and economically beneficial to install renewable energy systems”, said Bill Rawheiser, president, Wise Power Systems. “Easy access to solar energy is the key. The pre-engineered PV solar panel kits with Grape panels are complete systems, allowing
Ontarians who choose to power their homes and businesses with renewable energy sources can do so more easily, confidently, and efficiently. This means they will more quickly be able to contribute to a cleaner environment and make money.”
Provisions of the Green Energy Act ensure that those who have solar systems will be paid a guaranteed price for all the electricity they produce for at least 20 years, making clean energy a profit-making enterprise.

Further, using the pre-manufactured 10 kW or 250 kW kits greatly reduces the time it takes for installation, making it possible to have a residential solar system installed in as little as a day and larger systems in a matter of weeks.

The pre-assembled solar PV kits will deliver a return on investment in about five years, depending on the amount of energy used. “For systems up to 10 kW, the contract with the Ontario Power Authority guarantees a payout of 80.2 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh)a year for 20 years. So if you use 12,000 kWh a year, you would earn up to $10,000 annually,” said Wise.

The pre-assembled kit expedites installation by breaking down the process into four easy steps: install the Wise mounting system, place the pre-assembled panel modules to create the array, run the conduit wire to the pre wired inverters, then have an electrician run wires from the “pre-installed revenue meter” to the electrical grid.


Locally-manufactured pre-engineered kits, which use Grape Solar’s PV solar panels, will be marketed to installers as well as directly to end-users in Ontario. All kits will include a step-by-step installation manual and video. “To provide technical help and support, we also will have a hotline and a web site,” said Wise.

About Wise Power Systems
Wise Power Systems is a Wilmington, DE-based global green energy company which has done work on three continents, that for more than five years has provided renewable energy project consultation and a full spectrum of design, sales, and installations of industry-leading PV solar electric power systems, solar hot water heating systems, and wind electric power systems.


U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) flips the switch on Wise Power Systems just in time.

Wise Power's simple kits could advance Kenya's rural electrification effort.
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