NEF acquires 23% stake in Black Lite Solar

NEF acquires 23% stake in Black Lite Solar

Photo by Duane Daws

21st August 2013

By: Leandi Kolver

Creamer Media Deputy Editor


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South African black-owned photovoltaic (PV) solar company Black Lite Solar on Wednesday announced that the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) had bought a 23% stake in the company for an undisclosed sum.

The primary aim of this investment by the NEF was to further its mandate of committing to and supporting government’s policy of black industrialisation.

“The NEF is committed to black industrialisation and, through this investment in Black Lite Solar, the NEF is supporting government’s programme of localisation, local content and the local manufacturing of PV products, as opposed to simply assembling the products locally,” NEF CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had also given its full support and backing to Black Lite Solar.

“Government wants to support black industrialists such as Black Lite Solar. To this end, the DTI has approved a R900-million S12I tax allowance package with the South African Revenue Service for the Black Lite Solar initiative,” Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies said.

Further, Black Lite Solar’s international partner Germany-based Manz stated that it would be Black Lite Solar’s international technology provider and that it was fully committed to Africa, and to South Africa in particular, as a high-growth PV market.

In addition to the technology, Manz would also provide Black Lite Solar with process design services and a 150 MW copper, indium, gallium and deslenide (CIGS) turnkey plant.

“CIGS thin-film PV technology is the most relevant PV technology for South Africa and Africa as a whole. Our technology can be produced in a single plant and we have already tested South African glass in our production facility and were pleased with initial the result.

“Renewable energy has taken off in South Africa and we are excited by the support and active participation of the South African government in creating a friendly environment for international investors in the green economy,” Manz CEO Dieter Manz said.

The German company was committed to skills transfer and local manufacturing and would work with Black Lite Solar to achieve these objectives.

Black Lite Solar CEO Sanjay Soni commented that the commitment by Manz was testimony to the international business community’s confidence in South Africa as an international investment destination.

Black Lite Solar believed that, as the draft Integrated Energy Plan had recently been published for public comment, PV and renewable energy had a greater role to play in the energy mix.

“In our estimation, based on the experiences in Germany, the domestic and commercial rooftop markets could be as high as 10 GW by 2030, provided government implements a reasonable feed-in tariff for banks to fund the upfront capital expenditure.

“Black Lite Solar has the PV technology that is best suited to deal with the effects of shading on rooftop installations and, therefore, we are engaging with government to implement a standard programmatic feed-in tariff for domestic and commercial rooftop PV power plants of below 1 MW,” Soni concluded.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online





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