Relevant government departments and solar industry stakeholders represented by the South African Photovoltaic Industy Association (Sapvia) are due to meet next week in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, to decisively bed down an industry “master plan” that would guide the growth and regulation of the industry over the next five to eight years.
Sapvia chairperson and Genesis Eco Energy director Davin Chown told the Solar Indaba on Thursday that the last few months had been pivotal to the future of South Africa’s solar energy industry, as engagements between industry and the State had been stepped up.
This had culminated with the convening of a workshop by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson next week, during which she and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown hoped to develop a “shared vision” for the future of the solar industry, in collaboration with private sector players.
“We have been asked [by government] to answer eight provocative questions around what kind of industry we want. We need to come together and hope to [emerge from the workshop] with a ten-point master plan.
“We’ve had a testy partnership with government, but the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme has tested us and emerged well, so let’s do more of the same,” he stated.
Sapvia representatives had also recently met with Finance Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas, who Chown described as a stalwart of the renewables sector and who was keen to see the industry “built out and strengthened”.
Jonas, however, was quick to emphasise the need for transformation in the sector, suggesting that the private sector had not done enough in this regard.
“We will also be [reporting back] to him about where we see the industry progressing over the next five years,” Chown noted.
He further said Sapvia was on a “cheeky mission” to increase government’s allocation to the solar energy sector, and would appeal for an additional 2 000 MW a year.
“We can do it; we have the capacity. We do, in the short term, see an accelerated roll-out plan," he commented.