Creating an army of solar technicians to make solar a viable reality!  

    By Prajna Khanna, Director Signify Foundation

    At a recent business reception, an African diplomat told me his rooftop solar installation hadn’t been functioning for months and that he was at wits end in finding a technician locally to repair and maintain.


    He wondered whether I had any ideas or ways to help him, for instance by sending an expert technician to fix his problem once and for all. Though I was a bit taken aback by this request, as the meeting was in Utrecht in the Netherlands, it did get me thinking.

    With the prices of solar panels falling by a whopping 80% since 2009 (1) and the sun shining abundantly in Africa, what is inhibiting mass adoption of solar as an energy alternative? Lack of solar sensitization, financing structures, but also crucially, a lack of trained technicians for post-installation service and maintenance.

    Around the same time as the business reception, we were connected to Abu Musuuza and Jay Patel from Village Energy through an Ashoka program. They offered the answer to the problems that the African diplomat and so many others like him are facing in rural communities across the world, underserved by the grid: the Enlight Solar Academy. Through this academy, Musuuza and Patel bring their training to young women and men across rural Uganda, increasing youth employment and bridging a huge gap in the solar industry. I am proud to be partnering with them to bring their flexible, yet comprehensive technical, sales and professional skills training as it creates a pipeline of talent for not just their own needs, but also to service the human resource needs of other solar companies in Uganda.
    Registered charity in the Netherlands (ANBI), RSIN number 857684553.

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