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Solar and solar systems are today the most cost efficient electrical products in the market. But as reported by construction news Kenya, the industry is threatened by counterfeit products which end up breaking customer confidence on solar energy when they do not last as intended.

Counterfeit solar inverters, bulbs and batteries have flooded Kenya, hurting sales of genuine products while denying buyers value for their money, solar equipment dealers have warned.

According to the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (Gogla), the proliferation of fake products that sell at half the prices of genuine products has made it difficult for dealers to sell their products – threatening to drive honest traders out of business. Gogla has assured that it is working with the government to monitor the importation of solar products to stop counterfeits from entering the country.

“We need to support and empower the regulatory bodies with the resources and manpower so that they can rein in these phony products through testing and law enforcing,” Gogla East Africa Regional Representative Patrick Tonui said in an interview. He noted that counterfeits are likely to undermine the uptake of solar products since the devices break-down quickly thus damaging consumers’ confidence in solar technology.

Judy Mwangi who sells various solar products on Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi agrees that genuine businesses are doing poorly despite the fact that more Kenyans are now turning to solar – blaming the situation on counterfeits. “More Kenyans, even those in urban areas, are embracing solar energy due to its reliability and cost-effectiveness. However, the market is now flooded with fake solar products that are undermining our business,” Ms Mwangi said. She urged the government to crack down on unscrupulous dealers many of whom operate their shady businesses openly in most major towns.

Jimmy Njai, Head of Sales at Generic Energy recently lamented that the increase in the number of counterfeit solar products had significantly slowed down his business to one of its lowest points in history.

“Currently, we have one and a half container of PV solar systems that are lying in our go-downs and we fear they may break-down very soon if they are not bought,” Mr Njai said. Kenya, which receives insolation of 4-6Wh/m2 daily, is now a global leader in the total sum of solar systems installed per capita as high costs of connectivity continue to lock out most Kenyans from the national power grid.To promote the use of clean energy, the government has put in place incentives such as zero rating import duty and removing Value Added Tax on imported renewable energy systems.

For solar and solar systems installations, contact us on 0743 546483 or visit our offices located along Northern Bypass at Milestone Business Centre, next to Membley Total Station.