Domestic power generators may be noisy but they’re still a hot-selling product!
The sound of electric power generators is a common feature in several parts of the continent that are worst hit by the severe power supply problems. Power generating sets are available in a wide range of capacities and are commonly powered by petrol fuel (gasoline) or diesel. Some households and businesses often use generators for more than five hours every day to meet their daily electricity needs.
There has been a noticeable trend in the design of power generators as newer and smaller models which are more affordable have been introduced to the market. There is still considerable potential for power generators in Africa as the continent‘s electricity problems will take some time to fix. Any improvements in the design of these generators that will make them more affordable, less noisy, more fuel efficient and longer lasting will create a strong competitive advantage and will be well rewarded by the market.
At the moment, Asian brands dominate the market. These generating sets are largely imported from China and India. The technology for these machines is quite simple and there‘s very likely to be a huge benefit for local production in Africa. There is also a huge market for spare parts and maintenance/repair of these machines. As a result of constant use, many of them break down, often requiring new parts and technical attention.
There is also another interesting trend of generator leasing in some of Africa‘s biggest cities. Rather than incur the high upfront cost of purchasing a high capacity generator, most companies and households prefer to hire or lease when they need it. This option is not only flexible, it‘s cheaper and allows users to avoid the often painful costs of maintenance and repair.
The business concept again is simple: you either import the generators or you manufacture them yourself and sell.
There is a huge made-in-Africa deficit and manufacturing is seen as an industry with the greatest growth potential in Africa; either way, just get started!
Smaller-size portable generators for low-income households
Automatic response and remote-controlled generators that reduce the inconvenience of manual operation
Top Countries & Policy Guidance
This product would sell anywhere in Africa, but countries with dynamic capital cities and bigger towns would make up the greater market, especially if they suffer from frequent power outages.
Action & Tips
The Ministry of Energy may be a good point of contact to provide you with market information.
Kusum Kavia – Combustion Associates (California, USA)
This time we are telling a success story from California – in fact it was a story President Obama shared during the US-Africa Leaders‟ Summit in August 2014. Kusum Kavia was born in Kenya; her family was originally from India. Eventually, she emigrated to the US and along with her husband started a small business in California. It started off as a small engineering firm. Then it started manufacturing small power generators.
With the help of the Export-Import Bank they started exporting power generators to West Africa. Today, the company has grown and partnered with General Electric (GE) in the US. In fact, in the Republic of Benin (West Africa), Combustion Associates helped build a new electric power plant.