African energy company African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP), which was founded by Dr Patrice Motsepe, has expanded its investment in the renewables sector with the acquisition of a strategic stake in the SOLA Group.
The companies joined forces at the end of 2020, with AREP acquiring a 40% stake and becoming the largest individual shareholder in the group. The deal also includes a significant investment into the group to fund further expansion.
“The transaction with SOLA allows us to benefit from the utilisation of modern technology to provide affordable electricity, as well as benefit from their expertise in solar photovoltaics (PV). This also supports our strategic focus on delivering clean energy for the commercial and industrial sectors,” says AREP CEO Brian Dames.
“AREP and SOLA share a vision of using the latest, cleanest technology available to deliver excellent climate and business returns – both for our clients and shareholders,” he adds.
AREP is focused on clean energy solutions, with a portfolio of 740 MW of renewable investments, including wind, solar PV and biomass.
The SOLA Group has been active in the government market, as well as in the private sector, having been awarded 245 MW of Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme projects, 78 MW of commercial solar PV and 7 MWh of storage projects, respectively.
Having started with only four employees in 2008, SOLA now employs over 70 people on a permanent basis, with additional employment of between 30 and 100 staff during the construction of projects.
SOLA recently announced a landmark deal with Amazon, in the first ever solar PV wheeling project in South Africa. The group will provide 10 MW of clean solar power to the global company from a dedicated solar PV facility built 1 000 km from where the power is used.
“Our company is greatly strengthened through this partnership. There is very good strategic fit between SOLA and AREP, and the investment comes at the perfect time for a 100% South African-owned private utility to step up and play a meaningful role in tackling our electricity challenges,” says SOLA Group CEO Dom Wills.
The transaction will also see two AREP directors join SOLA’s board.
“We are excited to tap into the wealth of experience that AREP brings to our company. For our young company, this is as valuable as the financial investment will be,” says Wills.