South Africa - The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) recently announced a bold 5- Point Plan for the solar PV industry to drive industrialisation, create jobs, and contribute to economic growth in South Africa.
Speaking in December 2017 at an energy conference, the Energy Indaba, held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg, 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 South Africa.
“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 underexploited and underutilized indigenous resource with significant carbon reduction, water saving and economic development contributions” explained Chown. “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 in-between.
“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,” Chown said.
Outlining SAPVIA’s 5-Point plan Chown pointed out that his organisation recognised the need to build new South African IPPs and support a new generation of industrialists, in particular black industrialists in the renewable energy industry.
Key points of SAPVIA’s plan include working with the South African government to build out 1500 MW of PV per annum hence ensuring 1380 tonnes of CO2 emissions reductions and thus contributing to South Africa’s emissions reduction targets.
Another aim is to facilitate and support new black industrialists, particularly women and youth owned businesses, in the creation of South African solar IPPs and SME’s in the solar PV sector and promote investment and funding in order to realise the envisaged 1500 MW of PV installations.
Third on SAPVIA’s plan is to deliver 55 000 new local jobs in the solar PV industry by 2025, through skills development partnerships with South Africa’s Department of Higher Education Training (DHET) via the internationally recognised institutions such as SARETEC and the EWSETA.
SAPVIA also seeks to champion the implementation of solar PV in South Africa’s Renewable Energy Development Zones, mining areas, which are in decline and Special Economic Zones in order to drive industrialisation.
Finally SAPVIA hopes to launch its Solar Industry Development Plan and Energy Transition Programme, in consultation with South Africa’s labour, government and civil society within the next six months.
SAPVIA has accordingly called in the South African 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.
As well the government to actively partner with the solar sector in order to build off the current renewable industry growth and 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 less than 1500 MW of small and medium-sized PV projects developed and waiting to be granted permission. It is clear that this sector is ready for immediate roll-out and can drive much-needed industrialisation, job creation and economic growth,” said Chown.