Ener-G-Africa’s Bold Ambition to Meet Africa’s Clean Energy Needs

Power Africa
5 min readJun 12, 2024


Rene’s Journey from Soldier to Solar Production Manager

Woman wearing dark blue shirt with “ENERGAFRICA” logo looking to the side of the camera smiling. Windows of a building can be seen in the background.
Rene Salmon outside the Ener–G–Africa’s production facility in Paarl, South Africa. Photo Credit: Power Africa

Rene Salmon is a mother, army reservist and former South Africa National Defense Force Captain, and amateur chef. She’s also a production manager for Ener-G-Africa’s solar production line at their new 7,000 square meter facility in Paarl, a town in the Cape Winelands, South Africa.

Aerial photos of Ener–G–Africa’s production facility in Paarl, South Africa. Photo Credit: Power Africa

For nearly two decades, Rene was in the South African army, where she met Andre Moolman, the Co-founder and CEO of Ener-G-Africa. An African sustainable energy manufacturer and distribution company, Ener-G-Africa is a proud Power Africa partner. Andre was Rene’s platoon commander when she was in basic training. The two stayed in touch and years later, when Andre was looking for talent in South Africa, he reached out.

A man and a woman standing next to each other, looking at the camera and smiling. Their arms are folded across their chests.
Rene Salmon, Ener-G-Africa Production Manager, on the left and Andre Moolman, Ener-G-Africa Co-founder and CEO, on the right. Photo Credit: Power Africa

“I joined Ener-G-Africa in late 2021 as a project manager, when the company was setting up the facility in Ndabeni, Cape Town. Since then, I’ve moved into production. I now supervise a team of 11 staff, all women,” says Rene proudly. She finds her responsibility of managing the entire production facility both daunting and exhilarating.

“Energy manufacturing is a very male-dominated profession, so I remind all the women who join our team that this is an opportunity being created for us. We are pioneers of solar in South Africa,” she adds.

Rene Salmon along with the team of women she supervises on the solar panel production line. Photo Credit: Power Africa

The company is committed to empowering women and intentionally has an all-women assembly line in their Cape Town facilities. Mecallian September, a 25-year-old, is thrilled to work in a traditionally male-dominated industry as part of an all-women crew.

A photo of a women standing and smiling directly at the camera. Her arms are crossed over her body.
Mecallian September. Photo Credit: Power Africa

“The solar department is run by or operated just by women, and being amongst a group of women on a day-to-day basis doing things that are perceived as work for men, being able to do the work that in a room full of women, makes everything much better and fun,” says Mecallian.

A close up of a woman working a solar panel string.
A woman working on the string that’s added to the panels during the assembly line. Photo Credit: Ener-G-Africa

Ener-G-Africa was founded in Malawi in 2017 as a sustainable energy solutions company, to create and deliver affordable, clean energy products for the continent. Since then, it has expanded operations to Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe and serves markets across 12 African nations, with ambitions to meet the continent’s growing clean energy needs.

Ener–G–Africa’s production line in Ndabeni, Cape Town. Photo Credit: Ener-G-Africa

Ener-G-Africa’s new facility in Paarl uses more efficient technology for its solar panels than the older facility in Ndabeni. According to David Lello, Chief Business Developer at Ener-G-Africa, the company wants to bring the price of a 275 watt solar panel down to the price of a 150 watt panel, to below $50 a panel in South Africa. Their aim is to go beyond illumination to meeting domestic households’ cooking, cooling, and information communication needs, that is to run a small fridge, a fan, and a television at an affordable price for most consumers.

Ener–G–Africa’s battery storage systems and solar panels. Photo Credit: Ener-G-Africa

Ener-G-Africa is focused on small-scale energy solutions. For instance, a farmer looking for solar irrigation, or a clinic wanting to refrigerate vaccines, or livestock owners securing their animals at night, these are the types of energy solutions Ener-G-Africa wants to bring to rural, peri-urban communities, and small businesses. “We see a big gap in the market for these solutions,” says David.

Their focus is on innovative technology, using a smaller surface area to produce more watts, while simultaneously prioritizing domestically sourced materials, such as African aluminum, and soon, locally sourced glass for their solar panel assembly.

The company is investing in a clean energy value chain to reach underserved communities, from manufacturing to distribution to retail of affordable solar energy products such as solar panels, battery storage solutions, stoves, and biomass fuels.

A group of over a hundred people standing in a ballroom, looking up at the camera, smiling and posing for a group photo.
Photo of participants at the 2024 Powering Africa Summit in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Power Africa
A large group of people posing for a photo with twoEner-G-Africa banners behind them.
High-level U.S. government representatives visit to Ener-G-Africa’s facility in September 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo Credit: U.S. Consulate Cape Town

In 2022, Ener-G-Africa became a Power Africa partner, and has benefitted from the networking opportunities of the more than 200 private sector partners, 12 U.S. government agencies, and 22 development partners that are part of the Power Africa Initiative. “It’s a premier partnership for energy investments in sub-Saharan Africa’s energy transition,” says David.

Looking to the future, Rene hopes that South Africa will become as well-known as Canada, China, and India for solar manufacturing.

Woman standing in front of a workbench in a white lab coat and white gloves holding a solar component.
Rene Salmon working on the solar panel production assembly line. Photo Credit: Power Africa

She wants Ener-G-Africa to be on the forefront of the continent’s cleantech solutions. Rene adds, “I want us to be known as the very best, a world-class manufacturing facility for solar that’s run by women.”



Power Africa

A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ