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Solar News

‘Significant implications’ for design of African power markets as renewables prices fall

By: Terence Creamer     26th June 2017 Recent renewable energy price reductions, together with sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA’s) formidable solar and wind resources, have made solar and wind technologies the cheapest sources of power in several countries, which carries significant implications, a newly published academic paper argues, for... 

Joint venture to boost localisation and skills development

By: Nadine James     23rd June 2017 STEAG EOH Energy Services, a strategic joint venture (JV) – formed in February by JSE-listed technology solutions provider EOH and German energy group STEAG Energy Services – has been actively pursuing opportunities in the local energy market, while identifying areas for localisation and skills... 

Lighting solutions company adapts to changing technology

By: Nica Schreuder     23rd June 2017 Leading lighting solutions company Beka Schrèder is succeeding in adapting to rapidly changing lighting technology, in its manufacturing process, while maintaining focus on cost benefits for consumers. Beka Schrèder product development manager Daniel Kasper says the company prioritises cost... 

Lighting solutions company adapts to changing technology
Caption: HIGHMAST LIGHTING Beka Schrèder completed a highmast lighting project on the N3 national route connecting Johannesburg and Durban

NPC commissioner calls for energy-planning overhaul 

By: Terence Creamer     14th June 2017 A member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) has pointed to serious shortcomings in South Africa’s current energy planning processes and has called for future plans, including the highly contested Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity, to be compiled by a new independent technical... 

NPC commissioner calls for energy-planning overhaul

Senwes launches first silo PV system

By: Anine Kilian     9th June 2017 Agricultural company Senwes has launched the first silo solar photovoltaic (PV) system in South Africa, at its Hennenman silo, in the Free State. “Around 1 120 solar panels were installed, with a total capacity of 358 kW. The total projected solar utilisation is 472 460 kWh/y, which constitutes... 

Senwes launches first silo PV system

Company unveils containerised gas-to-power product offering

By: David Oliveira     9th June 2017 Cape Town-based containerised renewable-energy generation company SustainPower hosted their official gas-to-power product launch at African Utility Week (AUW), held in Cape Town last month. The company focusses on containerised gas-to-power and solar solutions with the integration of technologies... 

Industry trends shift towards efficient, intelligent strategies

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     9th June 2017 The main feature of global demand for energy is a shift to maximising efficiency through delivering energy at the lowest cost per kilowatt per hour, says independent process industry consultant Santosh Gunpath. He tells Engineering News that this was evident from his interactions with industry... 

Industry trends shift towards efficient, intelligent strategies
Photo by Bloomberg
EFFICIENCY PRIORITISED With energy integral to every process, the objective should be to maximise the efficiency of delivering the necessary energy at the lowest cost per kilowatt per hour

Local embedded generation requires management

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     9th June 2017 Although embedded power generation is gaining traction nationwide, the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) national project manager Alf Hartzenburg says the benefits of such generation have to be managed. Embedded generation entails... 

Local embedded generation requires management
Photo by Bloomberg
SELF-SUFFICIENT The proliferation of embedded generation has led to a decrease in electricity sales this year

Need for businesses to become energy efficient

     9th June 2017 According to the International Energy Agency, many companies are using up to 100% more energy than they would if they were best practice energy efficient businesses, says provider of efficient solutions for reducing energy costs and carbon emissions Ensight Energy Solutions CEO Francis Barram. 

Residential solar PV poses significant threat to utility model 

By: David Oliveira     9th June 2017 Increasing environmental awareness was driving South Africans to invest in a more sustainable future by installing solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop panels, global professional service company Accenture resources associate director Ashley Maistry said at the African Utility Week, held in Cape Town... 

US agency awards grant to SA IPP for Free State solar study

By: Mia Breytenbach     2nd June 2017 The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a grant to Johannesburg-based independent power developer Pele Green Energy. The grant will fund a feasibility study to assess the viability of a 75 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant, in the Free State. US Consul General of Cape Town... 

US agency awards grant to SA IPP for Free State solar study
Photo by Bloomberg
NECESSARY ANALYSIS The grant funds a feasibility study to assess the viability of a 75 MW solar photovoltaic power plant, in the Free State

Hulisani completes acquisition of Momentous Technology, posts maiden results

By: Anine Kilian     1st June 2017 JSE-listed Hulisani has completed the R122-million acquisition of Momentous Technology, which owns a stake in the 7MW Rustmo1 Solar Farm. Hulisani CEO Marubini Raphulu on Thursday said the acquisition is an important step in the company’s long-term strategy. 

Botswana power utility invites bids to build 100 MW solar plant

By: Reuters     30th May 2017 Botswana's State-owned power utility has invited bids to build a 100 MW solar power plant to boost energy security in the diamond-rich southern African country. In a document published on its website, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) said it expects energy demand to more than double to 1 359 MW... 

$100-million loan for African infrastructure spending

By: Nadine James     26th May 2017 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in March signed a $100-million loan agreement aimed at furthering the DBSA’s infrastructure financing activity across Africa. This flexible credit line will focus on DBSA’s four strategic sectors:... 

CSP projects boost South Africa’s green economy

By: Anine Kilian     25th May 2017 Global private engineering company Sener believes the 50 MW Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, together with the 100 MW Ilanga and 100 MW Kathu CSP plants, will significantly contribute to South Africa’s green economy. Sener is the engineering, procurement and construction partner on... 

CSP projects boost South Africa’s green economy
Bokpoort CSP

Builders Warehouse launches its first store featuring renewable energy

By: Anine Kilian     22nd May 2017 The North Riding-based Builders Warehouse, which forms part of the Builders Warehouse chain of stores owned by management company Massmart, has installed a 126 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, which comprises 400 roof-mounted polycrystalline PV panels. The plant will provide 70% of the store’s... 

Task team deliberating on renewables impasse to report ‘first week in June’

By: Terence Creamer     19th May 2017 A joint departmental task team set up to find solutions to the current impasse holding back the signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 37 renewable-energy projects procured in 2015 will report back in the first week of June, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi reported on Friday. The task... 

 Task team deliberating on renewables impasse to report ‘first week in June’
Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubay

US awards grant to SA renewable energy company

By: African News Agency      19th May 2017 The US Trade and Development Agency has awarded a grant to Pele Green Energy, a South African independent power developer based in Johannesburg. Wednesday’s grant funds a feasibility study to assess the viability of a 75 MW solar photovoltaic power plant in the Free State province of South... 

Industry leaders warn of loss in investments in renewables sector

By: Johane Turkstra     19th May 2017 Following State-owned power utility Eskom’s decision last year not to sign a number of contracts with independent power producers (IPP) and the delay in doing so since, industry leaders are warning that a loss in investments in the renewables sector could lead to a severe plateau in... 

Industry leaders warn of loss in investments in renewables sector
Photo by Bloomberg
NON-RENEWABLE ENERGY Eskom is responsible for generating about 95% of South Africa’s electricity and the firm mainly relies on coal for its power generation

Millions invested in renewables, research excellence

     19th May 2017 Last month, State-owned power utility Eskom says over an extended period of time, funded research work done by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Stellenbosch University has ostensibly benefited research in the renewables space. “Eskom’s unique role in driving... 

Young innovative entrepreneurs offer renewable-energy solutions

By: Johane Turkstra     19th May 2017 State-owned power utility Eskom’s Development Foundation’s yearly Business Investment Competition (BIC) continues to discover businesses bringing about positive socioeconomic changes to the benefit of communities and the country. The latest such business is solar energy company Lamo Solar, which... 

Young innovative  entrepreneurs offer  renewable-energy solutions
LAMO SOLAR Co-owners Tshibvumo Sikhwivhilu and Elmond Khoza

African countries look to minigrids to light up rural areas

By: Kim Cloete     17th May 2017 African countries are increasingly looking towards minigrids to provide people living in remote areas access to electricity. Government officials from Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria have told delegates at the African Utility Week, in Cape Town, this week, that minigrids are the way to go for many... 

High-level support for innovative agrosolar greenhouse concept

By: Mia Breytenbach     12th May 2017 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has pledged its support for the SUNfarming Food & Energy project run by North-West University (NWU), in Potchefstroom, in the North West province, which promotes the growing of and provides an opportunity to grow affordable and... 

High-level support for innovative agrosolar greenhouse concept
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Minister Senzeni Zokwana and NWU Faculty of Engineering Prof LJ Grobler survey the SUNfarming Food & Energy project

Least-cost electricity transition being played out at CSIR’s Pretoria campus

By: Dylan Slater     12th May 2017 The expansive Pretoria campus of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is increasingly being taken off-grid with the roll-out of renewable-energy projects as part of its drive to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy to the domestic energy industry.  

Least-cost electricity transition being played out at CSIR’s Pretoria campus

Nuclear is too expensive, too controversial

By: Nadine James     12th May 2017 Implementing a nuclear build programme in South Africa would be extremely difficult because of the associated expenses as well as the controversy surrounding nuclear power, says financial services company Thomson Reuters. “Globally, government decisions regarding nuclear programmes are delayed... 

Nuclear is too expensive, too controversial
ROBERT FISH The costs associated with constructing the necessary infrastructure added to the costs of importing most of the nuclear technology, fuel and materials, will incur large amounts of debt

South African solar firm in 50 MW India win after intense online bidding 

By: Terence Creamer     11th May 2017 A South African solar photovoltaic (PV) project developer won the right this week to build a 50 MW solar power plant in Rajasthan, India, following an intensive competitive-bidding process. Phelan Energy Group (PEG), based in Cape Town, prevailed in an online reverse auction involving 14... 

South African solar firm in 50 MW India win after intense online bidding
PEG chairperson Paschal Phelan

Internship academy launches young professionals platform

     5th May 2017 In response to the youth unemployment epidemic on the African continent, internship facilitators  Africa Internship Academy (AIA), will be launching its Young Energy and Power Professionals (YEPP) platform at the 2017 African Utility Week, which takes place at the  Cape Town International... 

Internship academy launches young professionals platform
NURTURING POTENTIAL The launch intends to establish a network of graduates attempting to solve Africa’s power and energy issues

Portable power and solar solutions manufacturer to launch in SA

By: Mia Breytenbach     5th May 2017 US-based portable power and solar manufacturer Goal Zero will launch its product range in South Africa through local multichannel distributor Wintec Solutions this month. Goal Zero has been developing a line of sustainable portable power solutions and lighting accessories since 2010, with its... 

Portable power and solar solutions manufacturer to launch in SA
Photo by Goal Zero
PORTABLE POWER Goal Zero’s product range includes the Boulder 100 solar panel and Yeti 400 generator

Renewable microgrids the future of African power system – research institution

By: Nadine James     5th May 2017 Self-sustaining renewable microgrids could foreseeably drive the development of Africa’s power system, resulting in quick, cost-effective electrification that enhances power security, says South African national research institution, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). CSIR... 

Renewable microgrids the future of African power system – research institution
SUBSISTENCE POWER A power system based on renewable technologies would be vastly different to the current system as an individual wind turbine could be used to generate cheap electricity for a microgrid in a remote village

Aggreko powers Bisha mine with hybrid plant

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     2nd May 2017 Power provider Aggreko has signed a ten-year deal for the supply of a 22 MW diesel and 7.5 MW solar-generated hybrid power plant to base metals miner Nevsun’s copper and zinc operations in Eritrea. Nevsun owns the Bisha mine, a large, high-grade volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit, located 150... 

DAFF pledges support for a game changing NWU food and energy security project

By: Mia Breytenbach     26th April 2017 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has pledged its support for the SUNfarming Food & Energy project at the North-West University (NWU), in Potchefstroom, in the North West province, which promotes the growing of and provides an opportunity to grow affordable and... 

DAFF pledges support for a game changing NWU food and energy security project
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana and Faculty of Engineering Dean Prof LJ Grobler at the SUNfarming Food & Energy project

Alternative power supply approach to benefit low-income areas

By: Robyn Wilkinson     21st April 2017 Alternative energy supply company Specialized Solar Systems (SSS) is making significant headway in driving the large-scale implementation of its solar-powered distributed direct current microgrids, which incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT) to supply energy to low-income areas in the form of... 

Fabrication facility to expand to accommodate heavy lifting fleet

By: Simone Liedtke     21st April 2017 Manufacturing company Sky Hill Heavy Engineering - a part of project services corporation Hydra-Arc in Secunda, Mpumalanga - has already commenced with the 100 m expansion of three of its four fabrication bays, to accommodate its heavy lifting fleet, says Hydra-Arc. 

Fabrication facility to expand to accommodate heavy lifting fleet
Photo by Petrus Saayman
IN-HOUSE PROJECTS Fabrication and refurbishment projects are executed from the engineering to transportation stages

Integrated energy solutions Africa’s answer

By: Robyn Wilkinson     21st April 2017 While several large-scale energy projects in Africa are progressing positively, growing global interest in sustainability and renewable energy highlights the need to actively pursue other low-cost, fast-tracked integrated energy solutions that will benefit Africans without access to electricity,... 

Joburg pilots scheme to improve energy access in informal settlements

By: David Oliveira     21st April 2017 To address the challenges of supplying electricity to informal settlements in Johannesburg, the city’s electricity utility City Power is managing a pilot project to supply residents in the Lawley and Thembelihle informal settlements. During the Power and Electricity World Africa conference, which... 

Pay-as-you-go microgrids seen offering rural electrification alternative

By: David Oliveira     21st April 2017 Pay-as-you-go solar microgrid solutions, coupled with energy storage, is proving to be a boon for the African communities they power and offers opportunities to entrepreneurs to tap into this growing market. South Africa has highlighted the potential of this system through the government Green... 

Solar, liquid-energy storage solution seen having big off-grid potential

By: David Oliveira     21st April 2017 Containerised liquid-energy storage machines, or flow machines, coupled with solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation, could provide Africa with the most cost-effective and energy efficient off-grid electricity generation solution, said UK-based energy storage solutions company redT CEO Scott... 

Solar, liquid-energy storage solution seen having  big off-grid potential
LONG-LASTING STORAGE One of the greatest benefits of flow machines were their ability to store energy, which would discharge for more than 12 hours
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