SAPVIA elects new board, celebrates ten-year anniversary

25th May 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

During its May 18 annual general meeting, the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) elected a new board, including three new members, as it also celebrated ten years in existence and proactive policy advocacy and lobbying efforts.

The association states that it has been at the “forefront of transforming” South Africa’s economy and energy sector and that its new board has adapted to the rapidly changing industry and “embedding best practice to create a world-leading” renewables sector in South Africa.

The new 2021 SAPVIA board members are Sunette Smith of Reatile Group, DeVilliers Botha of Solereff and Daniel Goldstuck of SOLA Group.

They are joined by Chanda Nxumalo of Harmattan Renewables and Richard Doyle of juwi Renewable Energies, both of whom have served for a first term on the board.

These board members will be joining current chairperson Wido Schnabel of Canadian Solar, Rainer Nowak of Webber Wentzel, Norman Moyo of Distributed Power Africa, Frank Spencer of Bushveld Energy and Maloba Tshehla of ED Platform, to complete the ten-commissioner-strong board.

The new board will serve a two-year term of office.

Outgoing board members are Jo-Anne Dean, Boitumelo Kiepile and Vuyo Ntoi.

SAPVIA COO Niveshen Govender says the organisation is grateful for the continued support of the members and their willingness to commit their time, energy and expertise to building the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry in South Africa.

The organisation states that its growth over the past ten years reflects the “flourishing” renewables sector and that going from just six members a decade ago, the association now boasts 544 members across the solar PV value chain.

“Our ambition is to support and attract members who are as diverse as the industry itself. We have restructured our membership categories to promote inclusivity and diversity,” he says.

This is supported by SAPVIA working groups, through which the organisation is fostering networking and knowledge sharing that encourages participation of all industry players to address challenges facing the industry, adds Govender.

SAPVIA says it is recognised as the “go-to point of contact for all things solar PV”.

Meanwhile, the organisation recently launched a PV Industry Jobs Report, which showed the increase in employment through solar PV and the future projection that could become a reality with the continued roll-out of renewable energy and solar PV across South Africa.

SAPVIA states that it continues to evolve to meet the needs of members, demonstrated through programmes like the PV GreenCard programme, PV Professionals, PV Spotter and PV Marketplace.

These programmes support quality and safety in small-scale embedded generation installation practices, enable information sharing and access to building opportunities for new entrants, feature installed projects across the country and showcase the best products and services to facilitate a localised marketplace that supports the South African economy.

“We have come a long way since our formation and as a body we are excited to step into this new chapter with a multitalented team steering us. Our focus for the year ahead is navigating a post-Covid-19 economic recovery that has renewables and solar PV at its heart,” Govender says.