Maintenance and Upkeep Services for Regenerative Power in Tunisia


Some concrete concepts for operating and maintaining solar facilities in Tunisia were developed in cooperation with a German company during the Manager Training Programme for Tunisian entrepreneurs held in the spring of 2015.

Because of its outstanding conditions for solar radiation with total solar radiation levels of 2,800 to 3,200 hours per year (or 255 days per year), Tunisia is optimally suited as a location for using solar power. According to the report “Target Market Analysis for Tunisia 2011”, produced by the German-Tunisian Chamber of Commerce for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), estimated capacity ranges from 1,500 kWh/m2/year in the northwest of the country to 1,900 kWh/m2/year at the Gulf of Gabès. Previous estimates of growth potentials for photovoltaic power can be found in the table below. These figures are based on concrete investments in components such as converters, panels, cables, etc. and for services.

System type Installed capacity, as of: March 2012, in MW Projection for late 2013, in MW
House roofs 1.5 to 1.8 4.0 to 5.0
Industrial systems (large roofs) 0 1.8
Open field systems 0 10

Source: GTAI research, Interviews with specialists held by GIZ

Hassène Najar, the managing director of WS-Energy, has targeted these market potentials to use to his company’s advantage together with German partners. His company provides services related to the installation of photovoltaic systems. Hassène Najar is very familiar with the photovoltaic market in Northern Africa, and especially in Tunisia. Installation of photovoltaic systems has seen rapid growth in recent years, but not all converter suppliers also offer maintenance and service on location. Plus, replacing a converter, for example, is nearly always associated with high shipping costs.

Hassène Najar has recognized the opportunities for growth in the services sector here. As a first step he intends to take over maintenance and service in the North African market for SMA Solar Technology AG, the largest German supplier of converters. Based on his experiences, a local service department can strengthen the reputation and acceptance of SMA solar energy products in Tunisia and other neighboring countries in northern Africa.

Initial talks between SMA Solar and the Tunisian participant were held during the Manager Training Programme. This gave Hassène Najar the chance to describe his company’s competencies and experiences, and to learn more about what SMA Solar Technology AG expects from its service partners. Once an agreement is signed, the next step will be to have staff from WS-Energy attend a qualification programme so they can learn about SMA converter technology, facility maintenance and SMA’s company philosophy.

Hassène Najar has recognized the opportunities awaiting his company in the field of photovoltaic system maintenance and service. Now he has turned it into a business strategy that he is ready to focus on and implement.

By Markus König
Export Academy Baden-Württemberg, Tübingen