African Rainbow Energy and Power acquires stake in SOLA Group

African Rainbow Energy and Power (AREP) has acquired strategic stake in the SOLA Group in a move that will provide significant investment to fund further expansion.

The companies joined forces at the end of 2020, with AREP acquiring a 40% stake and becoming the largest individual shareholder in the group.

AREP is focused on clean energy solutions, with a portfolio of 740MW of renewable investments (including wind, solar PV and biomass) providing affordable energy through the utilisation of modern and renewable energy technologies.

As South Africa transitions its energy usage to more cleaner sources, there is a dire need for new energy generation solutions, collaboration, technology and investment into renewable energy, it said in a statement on Thursday (28 January).

A critical component of this will be to address the challenges of energy security and job creation in the country, it said.

“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,” said Brian Dames, CEO of AREP.

“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.”

The SOLA Group has been active in the government market, as well as in the private sector, having been awarded 245MWrenewable energy independent power producer procurement programme projects, 78MW commercial solar PV and 7MWh storage projects, respectively.

SOLA employs over 70 people on a permanent basis, with additional employment of between 30 and 100 staff during the construction of projects.

“Our company is greatly strengthened through this partnership,” said Dom Wills, CEO of the SOLA Group. “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.”

“South Africans need the cheapest power available from a variety of competitive sources, which can happen through government or private energy procurement. SOLA’s strategy and service offering accommodates both models,” Wills said.

The transaction will also see two AREP Directors joining SOLA’s board.

SOLA recently announced a 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 constructed 1000km from where the power is used.