Solar EnergyEnergy

Solar Empresses: Reigniting South Africa’s Future through Women’s Solar Entrepreneurship


In South Africa, women’s solar entrepreneurship is rising as a beacon of hope for sustainable development and gender equality.

By harnessing the power of solar energy, particularly through women-led initiatives, we can reshape the nation’s economic landscape while shattering the glass ceiling that hinders progress.

Empowering women in the renewable energy sector is not just a matter of social justice; it is a strategic imperative. By equipping women with the tools and resources to thrive as solar empresses, we tap into their potential as catalysts for change.

Solar energy entrepreneurship offers an opportunity for women to become creators and drivers of sustainable growth, contributing to environmental preservation and building resilient economies.

Fostering women’s solar entrepreneurship goes beyond economic benefits. It inspires younger generations, challenges stereotypes, and ignites a virtuous cycle of empowerment. By providing training, financing, and mentorship, we can create an ecosystem where solar empresses thrive, energizing not just households but entire regions.

Related Articles

HOW TO START A SOLAR COMPANY – do these 6 things and make money through solar

The time is ripe to embrace the untapped potential of women’s solar entrepreneurship in South Africa. Governments, organizations, and communities must collaborate to pave the way for a future where women’s energy entrepreneurship flourishes. By empowering women, we can illuminate South Africa’s path to a brighter, more equitable future.

In this new era, the sun is no longer an unyielding force but a source of empowerment and prosperity. Let us unlock the power of solar empresses, harnessing the radiance of their achievements to reignite the nation’s potential. Together, we can create a vibrant and sustainable South Africa where women thrive and lead the way towards a brighter tomorrow.

The Status of Women in South Africa’s Energy Sector

Despite considerable strides made in recent years, the representation and participation of women in the energy industry in South Africa continue to face significant challenges. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), women currently constitute only 29% of the workforce in the energy sector.

These figures reveal a notable underrepresentation of women, particularly in leadership positions where they occupy just 15% of executive roles. Such statistics underscore the persistent gender disparities and systemic barriers that hinder women’s progress within the industry.

Women in South Africa encounter a range of obstacles when seeking opportunities within the energy sector. Limited access to education and training programs serves as a barrier to acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge. Additionally, discriminatory practices, gender biases, and cultural norms impede their advancement and professional development.

Solar Panels on Your Roof in South Africa? Here is How to Qualify for a Tax Rebate

Furthermore, women often encounter difficulties in obtaining financial resources and securing loans to establish their own energy ventures. The lack of mentorship and networking opportunities further isolates women, depriving them of the essential support and guidance needed for success.

This situation presents an unfortunate irony, particularly in rural areas where the energy transition is crucial for improving livelihoods. Women in these regions often bear the brunt of energy poverty, spending hours each day collecting firewood or relying on polluting fuels for cooking and heating. This not only results in adverse health effects but also limits their access to education and economic empowerment.

Addressing these challenges and creating an enabling environment for women’s participation and leadership in the energy sector is imperative. By providing increased access to education, training, financial resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities, South Africa can empower women to play a more significant role in driving the energy transition. In doing so, the nation can harness the untapped potential of women’s contributions, promote gender equality, and create a more inclusive and sustainable energy industry.

The Rise of Solar Energy Entrepreneurship in South Africa and Africa

Solar energy entrepreneurship has emerged as a popular and promising pathway for women to enter the renewable energy sector in South Africa. With the increasing global demand for clean and sustainable energy solutions, solar entrepreneurship offers women the opportunity to contribute to the industry’s growth while challenging traditional gender norms.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women’s involvement in solar energy entrepreneurship has been steadily rising. In South Africa, there have been notable success stories of women-led solar energy businesses that serve as inspiring examples of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Top 10 Global Solar Street Lights Companies (suppliers)

One such success story is SolarSisters, a social enterprise that trains and supports women to become solar entrepreneurs. By providing women with the necessary knowledge and tools, SolarSisters has empowered hundreds of women in South Africa to start and manage their own solar businesses. Through their efforts, these women have brought solar solutions to remote communities, enabling access to clean energy and positively impacting lives.

Nthabiseng Mosia, the co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Easy Solar, is another trailblazing African social entrepreneur. Easy Solar is one of the fastest-growing off-grid solar companies in Africa, distributing and financing high-quality solar systems and appliances for those with limited access to the grid. The company has powered 900,000 people in Sierra Leone and Liberia and employed over 1,000 individuals.

Finally, Dr. Rethabile Melamu currently serves as the CEO of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), while Chanda Nxumalo is the chairperson. SAPVIA is a prominent industry association that plays a pivotal role in promoting the growth and development of the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry in South Africa.

With a strong commitment to inclusivity and gender diversity, SAPVIA actively advocates for policies and initiatives that support and encourage women’s participation in solar power entrepreneurship. Through their collaborative efforts with stakeholders, SAPVIA aims to create an enabling environment that empowers women in the sector, fostering sustainable and equitable growth in the renewable energy industry of South Africa.

10 Ways of Financing your Solar System

These success stories highlight the significant potential and impact of women-led solar energy businesses in South Africa. Women entrepreneurs in the solar sector not only drive economic growth and job creation but also promote sustainable development and energy access. By diversifying the industry and challenging gender norms, these women are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable renewable energy sector.

Another notable rising star with a voice in both South Africa and Africa’s solar and energy sector is Bertha Dlamini who is the founding President of African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP). African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP) is a non-profit company established to accelerate African women entrepreneurs’ participation in the Power and Energy sector.

As the renewable energy landscape continues to evolve, the rise of women-led solar energy entrepreneurship presents a tremendous opportunity for South Africa to achieve its sustainable development goals. By providing support, resources, and an enabling environment for women to thrive as solar entrepreneurs, the country can harness their talent, creativity, and leadership to accelerate the transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

Empowering Women through Solar Energy Entrepreneurship

Empowering women through solar energy entrepreneurship not only promotes gender equality but also yields significant economic and social benefits. By providing women with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources, they can thrive as solar energy entrepreneurs, contributing to job creation, income generation, and community development.

In South Africa, women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been shown to create significant job opportunities. A study conducted by the Small Business Project (SBP) estimated that women-owned SMEs in South Africa were responsible for creating around 400,000 jobs. Moreover, women entrepreneurs in South Africa play a crucial role in fostering sustainable development. The GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) South Africa Report for 2019/2020 highlighted that women-led enterprises were more likely to prioritize social and environmental impact, demonstrating a greater commitment to sustainability practices.

Solar energy entrepreneurship also offers opportunities for income generation and economic stability for individuals and communities. By harnessing solar energy, women entrepreneurs can provide clean and reliable power to households, businesses, and communities, improving living conditions and stimulating economic activities. Solar energy is a renewable and cost-effective energy source, which can enable businesses to operate efficiently and foster entrepreneurial opportunities.

SOLAR PANEL LOSSES: All you Need to Know + Tips on how to avoid them

However, success in solar energy entrepreneurship requires specific skills, knowledge, and resources. Women need technical expertise in solar energy systems, including design, installation, and maintenance. Access to quality training programs and capacity-building initiatives is crucial for women to acquire these skills. Additionally, women require knowledge in business management, marketing, and financial literacy to effectively run their solar energy ventures.

Access to financial resources and supportive networks is also vital for women’s success in the solar energy sector. Securing funding for start-up costs, equipment, and business operations can be a significant barrier. Governments, financial institutions, and development organizations can play a pivotal role in providing financial support, including loans, grants, and investment opportunities specifically targeted at women entrepreneurs in the renewable energy field.

Moreover, creating networks and mentorship programs that connect women entrepreneurs with experienced professionals can provide valuable guidance, support, and access to market opportunities.

Promoting women’s participation and success in solar energy entrepreneurship not only advances gender equality but also contributes to sustainable development in South Africa. By addressing the specific needs of women entrepreneurs and providing them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources, South Africa can unlock the immense potential of women as drivers of economic growth and community development.


Through targeted interventions, such as training programs, financial support, and networking opportunities, women can thrive in the solar energy sector, creating a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for all.


In summary, women in South Africa continue to face significant challenges in accessing opportunities and achieving representation in the energy industry. Currently, women represent only 29% of the workforce in the sector, with even fewer holding leadership positions. However, promoting women’s entrepreneurship in the renewable energy industry presents a transformative solution that can address systemic gender disparities and promote economic growth.

According to the International Finance Corporation, women-led businesses have the potential to add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2030. Therefore, there is a need for further investment, support, and recognition of women’s contributions in the renewable energy industry.

Collaboration between government, private sector, and civil society is crucial in creating an enabling environment that empowers women in solar energy entrepreneurship and promotes sustainable development. Together, by empowering women in solar energy entrepreneurship, we can ignite a renewable energy revolution in South Africa, unlocking economic potential, promoting gender equality, and illuminating a path towards a brighter and sustainable future for all.

———————————–THE END———————————-

This article was written by Nongcebo Buthelezi who is a SolarEyes Contributor. More information about SolarEyes Contributors can be found on this link:

———————————–THE END———————————-



*** ALSO CHECK: HOW TO SIZE A SOLAR SYSTEM – 5 clear steps anyone can follow


HOW TO START A SOLAR COMPANY – do these 6 things and make money through solar

How to Identify Fake Solar Products

SOLAR PANEL LOSSES: All you Need to Know + Tips on how to avoid them


10 Surprising Ways Solar Energy Can Save You Money Today!

Opportunities for Solar Energy Development in Europe

Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

You cannot copy content of this page