Concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power system manufacturer and designer Amonix stated that the initial renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) for photovoltaic (PV) power projects, initially proposed in 2009, was “over generous”.
Speaking at the public hearings into the review of the reduced Refit tariffs at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) in Pretoria, Amonix representative Olivier d’Huart said that the company welcomed the new lower tariffs, stating that they were internationally competitive.
He said that Amonix would be able to compete and build projects in South Africa under the revised tariffs.
What Amonix did object to was the limited amount of qualifying technologies, leading to its call for CPV, which was a “more productive” solar technology as it tracks the sun, to be included under the Refit.
Nersa announced in March that it had reviewed and lowered the Refit rates, which came as a surprise to the industry.
Under the proposed Refit adjustments, solar PV could be slashed by 41,3% - from R3,94/kWh to R2,311/kWh in 2011.
Amonix’s presentation was in contrast to the majority of renewable energy project developers that presented at the Nersa public hearings, which said that the reviewed rates were too low to stimulate significant investment into the industry, which was struggling to find its feet in South Africa.
Project developers said that they had projects nearing financial close, which would no longer be bankable, at the new lowered tariffs.
Industry participants also complained about the unexpected decision to review tariffs at a time when developers were expecting requests for proposals for projects, rather than adjustments to tariffs. It was said to have created significant uncertainty in the market.
Amonix is based in California, with a manufacturing facility in Las Vegas, and 13 MW of deployed CPV solar power systems with projects in Spain and the US.