Solar photovoltaics (PVs) and energy storage system provider IBC SOLAR South Africa says it wants to be part of the transformation of the energy system in South Africa using two approaches.
One approach entails informing South Africans and local companies about the advantages and possibilities of solar power supply, while the other focuses on creating a basis for the distribution of solar energy by building up a network of trained installers in collaboration with local IBC SOLAR premium partners, explains IBC SOLAR South Africa MD Daniel Haitzler.
IBC SOLAR established IBC SOLAR South Africa last year to provide solar systems and energy components for commercial engineering, procurement and construction, as well as installation companies. The company also provides on-grid, hybrid and off-grid solutions.
“In the long run, it is important for us to work with a network of installers who we support in developing their local PV businesses,” adds IBC SOLAR (Germany) director of international solutions Albert Engelbrecht.
IBC SOLAR South Africa supports the company’s client base with the design of PV systems and provides clients with turnkey design software, called PV Manager, for a subsidised price. In addition, the company partnered with power training academy Maxx Solar Academy to teach local talents and electricians who want to become solar PV installers where they provide systematic training of solar energy to local craftsmen.
“Further, we support and sponsor the PV Green Card Initiative, which is a training programme of the South African Photovoltaic Association. IBC SOLAR provides high-quality solar systems; therefore, it is equally important that our clients and partners provide a high-quality installation,” highlights Haitzler.
Engelbrecht adds that, through initiatives and training programmes, the company enables local solar energy operators to be energy independent. “We analyse the demand, develop a suitable system solution based on this and then expand it by adding a storage component. Storage solutions are particularly important for PV systems in South Africa.”
Haitzler notes that the local PV market is still young. The local company, the green initiative and academy are assisting in this regard.
The company says advantages of solar power include energy supply for everyone 24/7, added value in the energy market, job creation through the training of skilled employees and new sources of income for locals. Reliable sources of energy will also raise the standards of living and improve the conditions of establishments, schools and medical institutions.
Engelbrecht adds that, in Germany, the energy sector has been transitioning from conventional energy generation to renewable energies for several years.
“PV-generated electricity has become one of the major renewable-energy sources, with subsidised feed-in tariffs provided by the German government since 2000. Such a concept could help South Africa to make the technology even more attractive. With more than double the irradiation level of Germany, the country is really ideal for PV technology,” adds Haitzler.
Engelbrecht concludes that the company has gained experience of how the transformation can succeed and would like to continue helping South Africa in transforming to solar power.