Solar in the Eastern Cape – An interview with Genergy
Recently, GREEN sat down with a team from our partner company in Port Elizabeth, Genergy. We wanted to get their opinion on the state of solar in the Eastern Cape and their thoughts on solar and renewable energy for the future of the province.
- Why did Genergy start in EC? What gap did you see in the solar market there?
The Co-Founders of Genergy are all from the Eastern Cape, and with the combination of a passion for sustainability and their hometown, Genergy was formed. There has always been an intention to expand nationally in the future, but primarily and initially to be based in the Eastern Cape. The main driver was to create employment and support economic growth in the founder’s turf.
- Is the solar market in Port Elizabeth different to Johannesburg and Cape Town? Why?
Yes. There is not as much wealth in the PE region, so there is a constant push for cheaper systems. Those who can afford a R150k system are few and far between. Furthermore, the general consumer in PE needs to be educated, and better-informed about Solar PV. It will however improve over time, as more people adopt solar, and as it is discussed more amongst peers or social circles.
- What is your experience of the Solar market in the Eastern Cape? Do you have any good experiences you would like to share? Any bad ones?
Service, service, and service. The Solar PV market is so competitive, but the cake is just so big – everyone is competing for a bigger slice of the cake. Therefore, service means everything. Word of mouth helps to improve image and perceptions about a business, but competitors will always try to spread bad rumours about you. One cannot afford to make any mistakes, or not follow up on customer requests – constant client feedback is critical. We sell a service NOT a product.
- Where do you see the solar industry in PE going in the next 10 years?
There will be incredible growth over the next decade – fueled by Eskom’s inability to produce affordable, reliable energy, and inability to ensure energy security.
- Why did you partner with GREEN Solar Academy to help educate new installers?
Genergy started to offer the GreenCard PV training course in 2018 and ran a couple of successful courses. We felt it was important to educate this sector to avoid industry damage. As training is not our focus, Genergy decided to partner with Green Solar Academy to enhance this division.
- Do you believe the SAPVIA assessment and accreditation is important? Why?
Yes. It provides a high standard that technicians should adhere to, and it provides the end-customer with the confidence/satisfaction to know that a quality installation was done.
- What are your top 3 tips for new installers in the Eastern Cape?
Service excellence is everything; installations must always be exemplary; and never force your product/service on the customer – listen to your customer and give them the right solution.
- Why is Genergy, and you specifically, passionate about solar energy?
Adopting a sustainable mindset protects the environment. By reducing the impact of fossil fuels, it improves everyone’s well-being, while at the same time utilizes natural energy sources that are freely available. Being part of a new and growing industry, that is making a difference, is very empowering.