Sunday, 21 November 2010

BBOXX’s first steps in the Republic Democratic of Congo

BBOXX was invited to Goma by Eric de Lamotte, a successful Belgian businessman and philanthropist who has a broad experience of doing business in the North Kivu with his numerous for-profit and charitable organisations such as En Avant Les Enfants, Kivu Travel or his brand new micro finance Smico. 

The main aim of this trip was to evaluate the market potential for our solar standalone energy solutions and meet his Congolese partners to analyse the hurdles and barriers to market entry that we will have to face when doing business in this part of Africa that has just come out of a long period of unrest and conflict. 

Laurent Van Houcke (right), BBOXX's partner and director of African operations, is presenting the BB5 to Eric de Lamotte (middle) and his Congolese partner (left).
We carried out a detailed market research on the solar and electricity market in Goma which lead to the following findings:
  • There are around 6 hours of blackout every day which force people to use generators.
  • A medium sized businesses spend around 75$/week for fuel. This is around 4,000$/year
  • There is a clear potential for carbon financing.
  • Photovoltaic panels in Goma cost around 6,5$/Watt.
  • Lead-acid batteries in Goma cost around 2,4$/Ah.
  • PV panels have on average five hours of peak power output in the North Kivu.
  • Most solar systems come fro China and are poorly sized, designed and installed. 

We noticed the poor maintenance of the electrical network in Goma and the extend to which people go to get access to electricity during power cuts.

Unprotected and rusty 50kVA transformer on the top of Mont Goma.

1 comment:

  1. DRC, here we come. sounds like a perfect place for the product. in full swing, we wanna bail you out of darkness.