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South Africa to add further solar PV in 2024 – Scatec

Scatec sub-Saharan Africa executive VP Jan Fourie

Scatec sub-Saharan Africa executive VP Jan Fourie

8th January 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Renewable energy company Scatec says solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity will grow significantly in South Africa this year and will continue to replace fossil-fuel-based traditional energy sources, as more homes and businesses make the switch to solar.

Further, solar PV's installed power capacity is poised to surpass that of coal, becoming the largest power source in the world by 2027, the company adds.

“We see ourselves as forerunners in South Africa’s bourgeoning solar industry, and our facilities already contribute substantially to the county’s solar energy output. The trio of projects in the Northern Cape’s Kenhardt region alone boasts a cumulative capacity of 540 MW in solar production and 1 140 MWh in battery storage,” says Scatec sub-Saharan Africa executive VP Jan Fourie.

“Additionally, earlier this year, Scatec reached financial close on a new trio of plants in Grootfontein, which will have a total capacity of 273 MW. Construction will continue in earnest, with completion expected in 2025.

“Meanwhile, in North Cameroon, Scatec preassembled tailored solar power and battery storage systems, which are the first of their kind to be deployed in the country, and the solar hybrid and battery storage plants boast a capacity of 36 MW solar and 20 MW, or 19 MWh, of energy storage,” he says.

In 2023, South Africa faced unprecedented loadshedding, resulting in devastating economic losses, especially in key economic sectors such as tourism, mining, commerce and manufacturing.

“In response, we have seen exponential growth in solar PV installations, with the technology becoming a favoured, swifter, more cost-effective and cleaner alternative to traditional coal-based sources,” Fourie highlights.

Additionally, during his November 2023 mid-term budget speech, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana again emphasised government’s urgent project to improve the nation’s electricity supply, including through rapid development of renewable energy projects, ongoing operational regulatory and legislative projects of aligning the sector and building an enabling framework that facilitates and attracts private investment.

“Scatec, as a major multinational player in the renewable energy industry, is part of the ambitious worldwide push to reduce carbon emissions. It is one of the private sector actors helping to drive the transition to clean, sustainable energy sources, especially within its focus area of industrial- and utility-scale energy plants powered by solar PV arrays, and complementary battery energy storage solutions,” Fourie notes.

“COP28 should give global society pause to reflect and take stock of the current environmental and climate situation, which by many key metrics still looks dire,” he adds.

The Global Stocktake aims to provide the first comprehensive assessment of humanity’s progress in this regard, since the universal adaptation and ratification of the Paris Agreement. It will also aim to align global efforts on climate action and conduct an audit of measures that still urgently need to be put in place to bridge the gaps, he adds.

Scatec has made a commitment to slash its absolute Scope 1 greenhouse-gas emissions by 95% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions across its value chain by 2040. Its climate targets have been endorsed by the private sector climate action organisation Science-Based Targets Initiative.

“The outcomes for Scatec and our host communities are intrinsically connected, and we believe that thriving, sustainable communities are crucial for the social development of our people and our success as a company.

“It is important that all our projects in SA are structured as 20 to 25-year partnerships, and demonstrably contribute to job creation, skills development and socioeconomic growth. For us, empowering our people is as important as electrifying our communities,” Fourie notes.

“Our projects have helped catalyse the economy, in economically troubled regions, and helped the people capitalise on the one resource they do have in abundance, namely sunlight. As major employers in some of these areas, we have taken on the role of custodianship. Our activities have become integral threads of the socioeconomic fabric of our host communities, and we look forward to taking these mutually beneficial partnerships further in 2024 and beyond.

“In a time of heightened global climate action and socioeconomic transformation, Scatec is proud to be one of the companies at the forefront of the global energy shift. We are especially proud of our contributions to mitigating South Africa’s energy crisis, and the strides we have made with employment and skills creation in host communities.

“Looking ahead to 2024, we are wholeheartedly committed to supporting South Africa’s energy needs and determined to forge ahead with laying solid groundwork for an equitable, prosperous energy future,” he avers.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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