Bold five-point plan for solar industrialisation



Davin Chown

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) has announced a bold five- point plan for the solar PV industry to drive industrialisation, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth. Speaking recently at the Energy Indaba held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, SAPVIA Chairperson, Davin Chown, said that solar energy is an untapped resource and can be utilised in ways that can deliver economic benefits across the depth and breadth of our country.

He says South Africa boasts an abundance of solar energy and is regarded as having some of the best solar resources globally all year round. It is an under-exploited and under-utilised indigenous resource with significant carbon reduction, water saving and economic development contributions.  It is also a free-fuel technology that can be deployed with relative ease all across South Africa and deliver benefits to economically distressed communities and areas where industries are closing down. Solar PV is also now the cheapest source of new power generation technology – something that cannot be ignored.

With this in mind SAPVIA believes that solar has the ability to foster new project ownership regimes – from large utility scale projects to community-owned projects, and everything between.

Chown says there is a desperate need to reignite South Africa’s economic growth. This can only be done through constructive collaborative partnerships between all social partners, with the objective of delivering benefits to communities across South Africa. In recognising the need to build new South African IPPs and support a new generation of industrialists, in particular black industrialists in the industry, Chown says that SAPVIA commits:

  • To work with Government to build out 1500 MW of PV per annum; simultaneously delivering 1380 CO2e tonnes of carbon emissions reductions thus contributing to South Africa’s emissions reduction targets.
  • To facilitate the creation of South African solar IPPs and SME’s – in particular women and youth owned businesses – support the creation of new black industrialists in the sector and promote investment and funding in order to achieve these commitments.
  • To deliver 55 000 new local jobs in the industry by 2025, through skills development partnerships with the DHET via the internationally recognised institutions such as SARETEC and the EWSETA.
  • To champion the implementation of solar PV in the Renewable Energy Development Zones, mining areas that are in decline, and Special Economic Zones in order to drive industrialisation.
  • To launch our Solar Industry Development Plan and Energy Transition Programme, in consultation with Labour, Government and Civil Society within the next six months.

Through these commitments SAPVIA and its members will contribute to igniting economic growth and development.

The association calls on Government:

  • To create an enabling environment and commit to a firm, consistent roll-out of renewable energy in order to unlock the potential that solar and renewables has to offer South Africa that will provide the policy and programme consistency needed.
  • To actively partner with the solar sector in order to build off the current renewable industry growth.
  • To build a long-term winning partnership with the broader renewable energy industry for the benefit of South Africa and its people.

There are just under 1500 MW of small and medium-sized PV projects developed and awaiting permissioning. It is clear that this sector is ready for immediate roll-out and can drive much-needed industrialization, job creation and economic growth.

Contact Kim Thomas, SAPVIA, Tel 021 200-5856, kim@sapvia.co.za

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Source: EE plublishers

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