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Solar News

Sun Exchange signs fund agreement with Decentral Energy for solar projects

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2019 Solar-generation microleasing platform Sun Exchange on Tuesday announced that it had signed an agreement with Johannesburg-based boutique clean energy fund manager Decentral Energy, said Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abe Cambridge. The agreement gives Decentral’s Grovest Energy, an Income Tax Act... 

Motsepe rejects Eskom conspiracy claims as ‘ridiculous’, but admits to ‘serious’ perception problem 

By: Terence Creamer     18th February 2019 Black business luminary Patrice Motsepe has labelled as “ridiculous” a recurring allegation that African Rainbow Energy & Power (AREP) is part of an unscrupulous plan to collapse Eskom and supplant the State-owned power utility with independent power producers (IPPs), in which the business would... 

Motsepe rejects Eskom conspiracy claims as ‘ridiculous’, but admits to ‘serious’ perception problem
Photo by Creamer Media
AREP chairperson Patrice Motsepe

Gordhan’s IPP renegotiation proposal triggers ‘breach of contract’ warnings 

By: Terence Creamer     15th February 2019 A report indicating that the South African government may seek to renegotiate power purchase agreements (PPAs) concluded with independent power producers (IPPs) in 2011 and 2012 is raising alarm bells within the industry, which is still recovering from a protracted period of uncertainty created... 

Gordhan’s IPP renegotiation proposal triggers ‘breach of contract’ warnings

Event set to dissect the future of African energy

By: Paige Müller     15th February 2019 The eleventh edition of the Africa Energy Indaba – which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, from February 19 to 20 this year – will focus on the future prospects and direction of energy on the African continent from an energy provision and investment point of view.... 

Event set to dissect the future of African energy
Photo by Duane Daws
AFRICA’S ENERGY FUTURE The Africa Energy Indaba will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, from February 19 and 20 this year

Opinion: Are there really more jobs in coal than in renewables? 

By: Tobias Bischof-Niemz     12th February 2019 There is considerable support in South Africa for the notion that a transition in the electricity system from coal to renewable energy will trigger a jobs bloodbath at both Eskom and the Mpumalanga coal mines. A detailed analysis of the job numbers, however, suggests quite the opposite. In fact,... 

Opinion: Are there really more jobs in coal than in renewables?
Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz

Electrical equipment group aims to penetrate new markets with integrated offering 

By: Terence Creamer     12th February 2019 Electrical products manufacturer Zest WEG Group has added an integrated-solutions offering to its products-oriented sales strategy in a bid to penetrate market segments in which there is a growing appetite for all-encompassing solutions. The South African company is the fifth largest branch... 

Electrical equipment group aims to penetrate new markets with integrated offering
Zest WEG Group CEO Siegfried Kreutzfeld in conversation with Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer on the group's growth strategy. Camera Work & Editing: Darlene Creamer.

New statistics point to renewables playing a role in load-shedding mitigation  

By: Terence Creamer     11th February 2019 Newly released statistics on the performance of South Africa’s small, but expanding, renewable-energy fleet point to a positive contribution from the country’s wind and solar plants during those hours towards the end of 2018 when Eskom resorted to load-shedding. Compiled by the Council for... 

New statistics point to renewables playing a role in load-shedding mitigation
CSIR Energy Centre principal engineer Jarrad Wright

DBSA wins global award for renewable energy project financing 

By: Simone Liedtke     8th February 2019 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has won the African Renewable Energy Programme Award. The award was presented to the DBSA, in London, in the UK, by Project Finance International (PFI), an institution that organises the global awards. 

Working together can deliver mining’s massive benefits – Friedland 

By: Martin Creamer     6th February 2019 Mining can and will deliver massive benefits if all stakeholders work together, Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chairperson and founder Robert Friedland said on Wednesday Speaking on the third day of the Investing in African Mining Indaba, he outlined the huge potential of collaborative government,... 

Working together can deliver mining’s massive benefits – Friedland
Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chairperson and founder Robert Friedland speaks about the winds of change blowing in South Africa and the DRC and the benefits mining companies, African governments and communities can reap if all parties work together. Video and editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Disruptive forces set to change power utility business models

1st February 2019 It appears that several disruptive forces are set to threaten the traditional power utility business model. Distributed power generation, technological advances and changing customer perspectives are among some of the major influencers responsible for this transformative change. This volatile... 

Disruptive forces set to change power utility  business models
Photo by Creamer Media
ENERGY FUTURE The theme of this year’s Africa Energy Indaba is Africa’s Energy Future

Opinion: Will unbundling Eskom ensure a sustainable electricity system?  

By: Tobias Bischof-Niemz     30th January 2019 That Eskom needs to be restructured is no longer in question. In its current form, the organisation poses a systemic risk to the South African economy and is ‘too big to fail’. The real question is what form this restructuring should take. For sure, the generation assets need to be separated from... 

Opinion: Will unbundling Eskom ensure a sustainable electricity system?
Photo by Creamer Media
Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz

SolarAfrica, Inspired Evolution establishes fund for solar PV solutions

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th January 2019 Solar financing specialist SolarAfrica, together with investment manager Inspired Evolution, have signed a R100-million equity investment facility that will contribute to a R500-million fund for financing solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions. The funding joint venture allows SolarAfrica to... 

SolarAfrica, Inspired Evolution establishes fund for solar PV solutions

Modules finalisation nearing completion

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec) has taken on the custodian role as the national renewable-energy-sector educator and hopes to have finalised all five occupational certificates of the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Qualification through its collaboration with Manufacturing,... 

Modules finalisation nearing  completion
HOME BASE Saretec is based at the Cape Peninsular University of Technology

Solar inverter available for water pumps

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 Obtaining water in rural and domestic environments from boreholes, ponds and dams is now easier, with technical solutions provider BMG’s Motoline P19000-S series of solar inverters for photovoltaic (PV) water pumps.   The solar inverters are used to power pumps for agricultural irrigation and... 

Solar inverter available for water pumps
EASY PEASY Solar inverters make rural irrigation systems easier to power

Solar streetlights installed at mine

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 Lighting manufacturer BEKA Schréder’s LEDlume-midi 36/55W luminaire, used in solar lighting solutions has been used at four intersections leading to iron-ore and manganese mine Assmang’s Black Rock mine, in the Northern Cape. “The intersections leading to the different sections of the mine have... 

Solar streetlights installed at mine
ILLUMINATING The solar installation at the Black Rock mine has made the intersections leading to the mine more visible and safer

Major upgrades to start at six airports

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     25th January 2019 South African airport management company Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) announced that upgrades and improvements over the next three to eight years at six of the country’s airports will cost about R26-billion. The upgrades and improvements are primarily to improve passenger facilities... 

Major upgrades to  start at six airports
UPGRADES AND IMPROVEMENTS Realignment of the runway at Cape Town International Airport is expected to start this year

Investors will continue to invest in solar

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 Specialist banking company Investec Bank will continue to offer funding to viable projects in the renewables sector as solar photovoltaic (PV) technology becomes more cost effective. Southern Africa – more notably the Northern Cape province, in South Africa, and Namibia – is considered as one of... 

Investors will continue to invest in solar
ANDRE WEPENER Asserts that South Africa’s recent reinvestment of power-generation projects are capital intensive

Improved film helps extend solar panel lifetime

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 With a focus on continuous innovation, science multinational DuPont is developing a new and improved clear Tedlar film to increase efficiency and the life of a solar panel well beyond the industry standard of 30 years. The Tedlar film is made of polyvinyl fluoride polymer – which is a more... 

Improved film helps  extend solar panel lifetime
CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE Solar panels are showing signs of deterioration sooner than anticipated owing to harsher environments

Fourways office park goes solar

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     14th December 2018 To convert Willow Wood Office Park, in Fourways, Gauteng, to using solar energy, Heartwood Properties has partnered with SolarSaver, which offers a rent-to-own model that does not require any capital outlay, to reduce the building’s footprint and save on electricity costs. All indications are... 

Off-grid rural home concept launched in Rwanda

By: Schalk Burger     14th December 2018 UK-based solar-power venture company Bboxx has launched its 2020 solar-powered off-grid home concept in Rwanda. The Bboxx Tomorrow’s Rural Home has a 50 W photovoltaic panel mounted on the roof and can be bought on a three-year payment plan. The home was created by Bboxx and partners using smart... 

Off-grid rural home concept launched in Rwanda
MODERN RURAL HOME The Bboxx rural home is designed to bring the on-grid experience in an off-grid location

15 on Orange’s PVT energy system now fully operational

By: Simone Liedtke     11th December 2018 The newly installed Solarus energy system on the roof of the 15 on Orange Hotel, in Cape Town, is now fully operational. According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the hybrid photovoltaic and thermal (PVT) project is currently the largest in Cape Town and is a system that provides the luxury... 

15 on Orange’s PVT energy system now fully operational
The newly installed Solarus energy system on the roof of the 15 on Orange Hotel, in Cape Town

South Africa should not be over-reliant on renewable energy for its future electricity needs 

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th December 2018 The proposal of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018 that wind, solar and gas generation account for a combined total of 42% of South Africa’s total installed electricity capacity by 2030 was most unwise, AFRA-NEST Regional Coordinator Dr Anthonie Cilliers has warned. (AFRA stands... 

South Africa should not be over-reliant on renewable energy for its future electricity needs
Photo by Duane Daws/Creamer Media
Jeffreys Bay wind farm

Sener advocates for IRP policy adjustment to cater for ‘reliable, carbon-free’ CSP 

By: Terence Creamer     4th December 2018 Spanish technology group Sener, which has overseen the construction of three concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in South Africa and 29 in total internationally, is urging the South African government to reconsider CSP’s exclusion from the final version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).... 

Sener advocates for IRP policy adjustment to cater for ‘reliable, carbon-free’ CSP
Photo by Dylan Slater
Sener Southern Africa regional MD Siyabonga Mbanjwa

100 MW Karoshoek Solar One CSP project commissioned in Northern Cape

By: Marleny Arnoldi     3rd December 2018 The 100 MW Karoshoek Solar One project was commissioned on November 30 – the latest success in government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Karoshoek is a concentrated solar project (CSP) that harvests the sun’s energy through a series of concave... 

100 MW Karoshoek Solar One CSP project commissioned in Northern Cape
Karoshoek Solar One plant

100 MW CSP project, developed by black-owned IPP, enters commercial operation  

By: Terence Creamer     30th November 2018 A new 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, developed by black-owned independent power producer (IPP) Emvelo, officially entered into commercial operation this week, providing Eskom with a new dispatchable generation option at a time of severe supply-side constraints. Located in Upington,... 

100 MW CSP project, developed by black-owned IPP, enters commercial operation
The Ilanga CSP1 plant

Zambia targets 200 MW of solar power to reduce hydro dependency

By: Reuters     28th November 2018 Zambia is seeking proposals from potential developers of solar power projects with a combined 200 MW capacity as it tries to diversify its energy mix away from hydroelectric power. Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa said in a statement at an investment conference on Tuesday that the 200 MW would be... 

Resolute procures 40 MW solar hybrid power plant for Syama

By: Creamer Media Reporter      26th November 2018 ASX-listed Resolute Mining has signed a joint development agreement with power project financier, developer and operator Ignite Energy Projects for the development of a 40 MW independent solar hybrid power plant at its Syama gold mine, in Mali. The power plant, which will be operational by the... 

100 MW Kathu CSP to enter commercial operation in early 2019 

By: Creamer Media Reporter      26th November 2018 The 100 MW Kathu Solar Park concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, in the Northern Cape, has been synchronised to the national grid and the power station is expected to enter into full commercial operation in early 2019. Construction of the parabolic-trough CSP plant began in May 2016, following... 

100 MW Kathu CSP to enter commercial operation in early 2019
The 100 MW Kathu Solar Park

Big plans afoot for training more young people in renewable energy

By: Kim Cloete     20th November 2018 The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec), which provides training for wind turbine service technicians and which has recently expanded into training solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, has been officially launched in Cape Town. The sophisticated and state-of-the-art training... 

Policy support needed for development of sustainable alternative energy sources – SAEEC

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th November 2018 Although natural gas is about 60% cleaner than coal in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, it currently contributes only 1.5% of the country’s total primary energy needs. Even through the National Development Plan (NDP) aims to delink economic development from environmental decay and... 

Flexibility to take on ‘unprecedented importance’ as renewables rise 

By: Terence Creamer     13th November 2018 The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that higher shares of variable renewable energy in electricity systems will require a “step change” in the requirement for flexibility, which is the capability to balance electricity supply and demand at all times so as to keep the lights burning. The... 

Flexibility to take on ‘unprecedented importance’ as renewables rise

Electrifying the world no panacea for global warming, IEA says  

By: Bloomberg     13th November 2018 Driving electric cars and scrapping your natural gas-fired boiler won’t make a dent in global carbon emissions, and may even increase pollution levels. Higher electrification may lead to oil demand peaking by 2030, but any reduction in emissions from the likes of electric vehicles will be offset... 

Lazard says ‘inflection point’ reached making new renewables cheaper than existing coal 

By: Terence Creamer     9th November 2018 A new US study comparing the costs of energy from various generation technologies indicates that an “inflection point” has been reached where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new renewable-energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants. The... 

Lazard says ‘inflection point’ reached making new renewables cheaper than existing coal

Wartsila wins contract to build two Kenyan solar-power farms

By: Bloomberg     8th November 2018 Wartsila Oyj’s East African unit won two engineering, procurement and construction contracts to develop grid-connected solar farms in Kenya, each with a capacity of 40 megawatts. Construction is expected to begin next year, according to George Oywer, a business development manager at Wartsila... 

Africa poised to be global renewable-energy leader – AfDB president  

By: Terence Creamer     8th November 2018 African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina says Africa is poised to become the leading region for renewable-energy globally and has reaffirmed the bank’s support for the ambitious ‘Desert to Power’ programme in the Sahel region. Speaking in Johannesburg at the inaugural Africa... 

Africa poised to be global renewable-energy leader – AfDB president
Photo by Reuters
AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina

Prices for renewable energy likely to drop further, suggests energy expert

By: Kim Cloete     7th November 2018 Prices for renewable energy are likely to continue to drop, while the next utility-scale renewable energy procurements will probably come sooner rather than later, suggests energy expert, Professor Anton Eberhard. “I have no doubt that we will see prices coming down further,” Eberhard told... 

New oil, gas opportunities emerge in Sudan, Niger

By: Kim Cloete     7th November 2018 Some countries in Africa are emerging as potentially exciting players in the oil and gas space – from Sudan, which has emerged out of the clutches of civil war, to Niger, which is rising up as a new producer of petroleum products. Sudanese Petroleum and Gas Minister Azhari Abdalla Abdelgader on... 

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