The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) has been named as a respondent in an application filed by local renewable energy supplier Suntech Solar Power South Africa earlier this month.
Suntech Solar has taken the decision to challenge the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme’s (RMIPPPP’s) decision-making process and the associated empirical data used that led to retrospective exemptions from designated local content requirements.
SAPVIA in a statement on September 16 said it “fully supports the objectives of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC)” and said its efforts are, therefore, focused on ensuring an enabling environment for local manufacturing and, ultimately, industrialisation, which needs to be done responsibly and sustainably.
“We have engaged Suntech on this matter to better understand their position and further reached out to the DTIC to facilitate a conversation before legal action was taken,” SAPVIA COO Niveshen Govender stated.
He added that the DTIC “should be in a position to respond to the challenge with the record of decision and empirical data-based research”.
Suntech Solar is a SAPVIA member.
As the representative body of the solar PV sector in South Africa, and as a result of its efforts in driving sustainable and responsible localisation, including specific engagements with government and industry at large on this matter, SAPVIA has been cited as an interested party.
“No legal action is being taken against the association,” Govender confirmed.
Suntech Solar on September 3 launched proceedings in the High Court seeking to interdict and set aside what it said were the “selective and unlawful” exemptions granted by the DTIC in respect of the RMIPPPP.
Prior to recent decisions made by the DTIC, the company stood to participate in the RMIPPPP projects by supplying solar panels to preferred bidders.
However, it argued in a statement on September 9 that the “selective and unlawful” exemptions granted by the DTIC in favour of two suppliers, ARTsolar and Seraphim Solar South Africa, now “effectively excludes all other local solar PV module suppliers from competitively participating in the RMIPPPP and forces preferred bidders to procure from ARTsolar and Seraphim and its Chinese partners, LONGi Solar and Seraphim China”.
ARTsolar has advised that it holds a different view to what is being alleged by Suntech Solar in its court application and has thus opposed the application.
**The application launched by Suntech Solar Power has been dismissed by the Gauteng Division of the High Court with costs. The order for costs was in favour of the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, ARTsolar, Seraphim Solar South Africa and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
***Following the judgment, which was handed down on October 4, ARTsolar released the following statement: “Whilst a clearly orchestrated plan was set in motion, which sought to tarnish our good name and reputation as the only 100% South African owned photovoltaic manufacturer, we are glad that the court saw through this and dismissed this ill-conceived application with costs.”