IREK Working Paper No. 2

The insertion of local actors in the global value chains for solar PV and wind turbines in Kenya

With the increasingly market-based uptake of renewable energy technologies across countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the extent to which and the nature of the involvement of local industrial actors merit attention. This report analyses the manner in which solar PV and wind turbines are transferred and diffused into Kenya, focusing on the involvement of local industrial actors in the import, local manufacture, distribution, sale, operation and service-related activities. The global value chain (GVC) perspective is used as the analytical framework and the report draws on primary and secondary data collected in Kenya. The report shows that the GVCs for wind turbines and solar PV in Kenya differ with respect to their organisation, technology origin and chain actors. Overall, the report finds that most of the key components and products are imported from producers located abroad. Hence, the extent of local production of wind turbines, solar panels and balance of plant components, such as batteries or inverters, is relatively limited. Most of the involvement of local industrial actors in the GVCs for wind turbines and solar PV is related to downstream activities, such as distribution, installation, and marketing and after-sales services. The report points at a need for further research exploring the insertion and upgrading in GVCs in the context of downstream activities both in relation to RE technologies in SSA and generally.

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