Sep 03, 2013
SA sees growing solar technology opportunitiesBack
Cape Town|Africa|Design|Eskom|Indaba|Nuclear|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Solar|Systems|Technology|Africa|Americas|Asia|Europe|China|Germany|South Africa|Automotive|Energy|Oil|Solar Technologies|Systems|Usable Direct Current Electricity|Chris Haw|Horst Freitag|Mikael Hajjar|Power|Ronald Chauke|South Africa|Southern Africa|PV Technology
© Reuse this
The indaba, being held in Cape Town, has drawn 250 industry executives, government officials, bankers and entrepreneurs from across the South African solar sphere.
“At the beginning of our procurement programme, wind projects were at the forefront of the bidding process. But we soon realised we had to look at it on a broader level,” National Energy Regulator of South Africa Electric Regulatory Reform department head Ronald Chauke said.
He welcomed the huge interest from players in the solar industry.
“Solar photovoltaics (PV) have been driven by a massive price decline. It’s a real game-changer in terms of affordability,” added South African Photovoltaic Industry Association spokesperson Chris Haw.
Solar PV projects comprise multiple PV modules or solar panels, which convert sunlight into usable direct current electricity.
Haw said the price of PV had been slashed ten-fold in the past 20 years, with China, Asia and the Americas dominating the market. PV is seen as relatively stable as it is not subject to fluctuations in oil and other prices.
Figures provided by Greenpeace and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association show that the prices for solar PV systems in Europe fell by about 50% between 2005 and 2010 and are projected to decrease by a further 35% to 50% by 2020.
PV is in its early stages in South Africa. About 30 MW of solar PV had been installed by the end of last year. This is expected to pick up significantly with the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) that has allocated 8 400 MW towards PV technology for big projects.
Coupled with this, Eskom is hoping concentrated solar power (CSP), which uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, will take off in sun-rich Upington, where the basic design has been completed.
“We have to send a clear signal to the market that CSP will be more affordable in the short term,” said Southern Africa Solar Thermal and Electric Association spokesperson Mikael Hajjar.
He said the advantage of CSP was that it could produce energy when peak production was needed most and it created more jobs and higher local content than other renewable energies.
“Better price and performance achievements are expected in bid window three of the REIPPPP,” said Hajjar.
German Ambassador to South Africa Dr Horst Freitag spoke about his country’s experience in the renewable-energy space. Germany has been at the forefront of renewable energy since the early 1990s. Around 20% of its electricity is generated from renewables.
The country has also made strategic decisions to completely phase out nuclear energy by 2022. Germany has already shut down eight of its nuclear power plants.
“The key to relatively affordable energy supply is diversification of sources, suppliers and energy supply rates,” said Freitag, who added that South Africa and Germany were working together very closely on renewable-energy projects, including the Upington plant and in terms of skills transfer.
Freitag also lauded the job opportunities offered by renewable energy, saying that jobs in the renewables sector were expected to far outstrip employment in the automotive sector in Germany by 2020.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
Other Renewable Energy News
While there are battery-powered bolting solutions for wind turbine maintenance, the general consensus among wind energy industry stakeholders is that these solutions lack battery longevity and often succumb to overheating and bending, says bolting systems...
While wind turbines are standard products that are designed, verified by prototype testing and independently certified, their foundations are designed on a project-by-project basis to suit site-specific ground conditions. This, according to engineering consulting...
Engineering consulting firm Hatch Goba has introduced a new approach to integrated earthing for wind energy facilities, using insulated cables to connect the individual wind turbine groundmats to the substation groundmat, taking the equivalent circuit of the entire...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...