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Solar News

Opinion: If investment is the goal, what should SA’s electricity game plan be?

By: Tobias Bischof-Niemz     22nd March 2019 South Africa has correctly identified the lack of investment as a serious constraint to economic growth and job creation. President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved to address the problem by reaching out to domestic and foreign investors both informally and through the inaugural Investment Conference,... 

Concurrent events to unfold at PEWA

15th March 2019 The Power & Electricity World Africa (PEWA) event brings innovators, disrupters and change agents together to talk and engage in business pertaining to power and electricity. 

Concurrent events to unfold at PEWA
PEWA Event transforming business around the world

Solar microleasing platform in deal with clean-energy fund manager

By: Schalk Burger     15th March 2019 Solar-generation microleasing platform Sun Exchange announced last month that it had signed an agreement with Johannesburg-based boutique clean energy fund manager Decentral Energy, says Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abe Cambridge. The agreement gives Decentral’s Grovest Energy, an Income Tax Act... 

Africa needs to embrace all forms of energy, says Van Loggerenberg

By: Mamaili Mamaila     15th March 2019 There is huge demand for electricity in Africa, with about 600-million people on the continent who have no access to electricity. 

Africa needs to embrace all forms of energy, says Van Loggerenberg
MARLEZE VAN LOGGERENBERG We need to embrace LNG as one of the renewables that can make a difference globally

Equipment supplier to spread its wings outside South Africa

By: Mamaili Mamaila     15th March 2019 Industrial equipment supplier Vermeer will attend The Solar Show Africa 2019 which is combined with the 2019 Power and Electricity World Africa (PEWA) conference at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 26 and 27, 2019. 

Equipment supplier to spread its wings outside South Africa
SITES ON AFRICA Vermeer aims to penetrate the renewable-energy market in Africa

PV solar energy the solution to power woes

By: Mamaili Mamaila     15th March 2019 The energy sector in Africa is under pressure, considering its inability to supply sufficient power for end-users, says photovoltaic (PV) solar industry supplier Valsa Trading MD Svilen Voychev. 

PV solar energy the solution to power woes
SVILEN VOYCHEV European power solutions are not necessarily ideal for African power challenges

Opinion: If there are more jobs in renewables, why are coal miners so unhappy?

By: Tobias Bischof-Niemz     8th March 2019 As outlined previously, an electricity system made up of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, wind farms and flexible generators will employ at least 30% more people than a comparable energy-equivalent coal fleet (see the Transition Talk column in the February 22-28 edition of Engineering News). This... 

Opinion: If there are more jobs  in renewables, why are coal miners so unhappy?
Photo by ENERTRAG
The net benefits of a least-cost mix of solar PV, wind and flexibility should be directed towards policies that support coal workers

US’s OPIC provides $10m in finance for solar kit supply in Chad

By: Marleny Arnoldi     7th March 2019 The US government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), will loan $10-million to support the introduction of offgrid solar kits and appliances in Chad. The loan, extended to a company called FinLux Ellen, will help to distribute solar kits and... 

US’s OPIC provides $10m in finance for solar kit supply in Chad

Orion mulls solar, wind energy generation options for Prieska project

By: Marleny Arnoldi     5th March 2019 ASX-listed Orion Minerals on Tuesday announced that it had signed a renewable energy generation collaboration agreement with Juwi Renewable Energies South Africa to investigate the renewable energy generation potential at the Prieska zinc/copper project, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.... 

Orion mulls solar, wind energy generation options for Prieska project
Photo by Creamer Media
Orion Minerals Errol Smart

Togo to subsidise solar energy systems for citizens living in rural areas

By: Marleny Arnoldi     1st March 2019 Plug-and-play solar system manufacturer BBOXX’s customers in Togo will start receiving a subsidy from government to spend on solar energy. This is the first government subsidy for the purpose of solar energy payments in Africa. 

Africa’s first solar-powered desalination plant passes 10 000 kℓ mark  

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     27th February 2019 Africa’s first solar-powered seawater desalination plant, the OSMOSUN plant, designed by Mascara and located in Witsand, in the Hessequa municipality, in the Western Cape, has produced more than 10  000 kℓ of drinkable water. The plant has been fully operational since December 20, 2018, providing... 

Africa’s first solar-powered desalination plant passes 10  000 kℓ mark
The OSMOSUN plan

Sun Exchange signs fund agreement with Decentral Energy for solar projects

By: Schalk Burger     19th February 2019 Solar-generation microleasing platform Sun Exchange on Tuesday announced that it had signed an agreement with Johannesburg-based boutique clean energy fund manager Decentral Energy, said Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abe Cambridge. The agreement gives Decentral’s Grovest Energy, an Income Tax Act... 

Sun Exchange signs fund agreement with Decentral Energy for solar projects
473 kW Nioro Plastics solar project

Motsepe rejects Eskom conspiracy claims as ‘ridiculous’, but admits to ‘serious’ perception problem 

By: Terence Creamer     18th February 2019 Black business luminary Patrice Motsepe has labelled as “ridiculous” a recurring allegation that African Rainbow Energy & Power (AREP) is part of an unscrupulous plan to collapse Eskom and supplant the State-owned power utility with independent power producers (IPPs), in which the business would... 

Motsepe rejects Eskom conspiracy claims as ‘ridiculous’, but admits to ‘serious’ perception problem
Photo by Creamer Media
AREP chairperson Patrice Motsepe

Gordhan’s IPP renegotiation proposal triggers ‘breach of contract’ warnings 

By: Terence Creamer     15th February 2019 A report indicating that the South African government may seek to renegotiate power purchase agreements (PPAs) concluded with independent power producers (IPPs) in 2011 and 2012 is raising alarm bells within the industry, which is still recovering from a protracted period of uncertainty created... 

Gordhan’s IPP renegotiation proposal triggers ‘breach of contract’ warnings

Event set to dissect the future of African energy

By: Paige Müller     15th February 2019 The eleventh edition of the Africa Energy Indaba – which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, from February 19 to 20 this year – will focus on the future prospects and direction of energy on the African continent from an energy provision and investment point of view.... 

Event set to dissect the future of African energy
Photo by Duane Daws
AFRICA’S ENERGY FUTURE The Africa Energy Indaba will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, from February 19 and 20 this year

Opinion: Are there really more jobs in coal than in renewables? 

By: Tobias Bischof-Niemz     12th February 2019 There is considerable support in South Africa for the notion that a transition in the electricity system from coal to renewable energy will trigger a jobs bloodbath at both Eskom and the Mpumalanga coal mines. A detailed analysis of the job numbers, however, suggests quite the opposite. In fact,... 

Opinion: Are there really more jobs in coal than in renewables?
Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz

Electrical equipment group aims to penetrate new markets with integrated offering 

By: Terence Creamer     12th February 2019 Electrical products manufacturer Zest WEG Group has added an integrated-solutions offering to its products-oriented sales strategy in a bid to penetrate market segments in which there is a growing appetite for all-encompassing solutions. The South African company is the fifth largest branch... 

Electrical equipment group aims to penetrate new markets with integrated offering
Zest WEG Group CEO Siegfried Kreutzfeld in conversation with Engineering News Editor Terence Creamer on the group's growth strategy. Camera Work & Editing: Darlene Creamer.

New statistics point to renewables playing a role in load-shedding mitigation  

By: Terence Creamer     11th February 2019 Newly released statistics on the performance of South Africa’s small, but expanding, renewable-energy fleet point to a positive contribution from the country’s wind and solar plants during those hours towards the end of 2018 when Eskom resorted to load-shedding. Compiled by the Council for... 

New statistics point to renewables playing a role in load-shedding mitigation
CSIR Energy Centre principal engineer Jarrad Wright

DBSA wins global award for renewable energy project financing 

By: Simone Liedtke     8th February 2019 The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has won the African Renewable Energy Programme Award. The award was presented to the DBSA, in London, in the UK, by Project Finance International (PFI), an institution that organises the global awards. 

Working together can deliver mining’s massive benefits – Friedland 

By: Martin Creamer     6th February 2019 Mining can and will deliver massive benefits if all stakeholders work together, Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chairperson and founder Robert Friedland said on Wednesday Speaking on the third day of the Investing in African Mining Indaba, he outlined the huge potential of collaborative government,... 

Working together can deliver mining’s massive benefits – Friedland
Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chairperson and founder Robert Friedland speaks about the winds of change blowing in South Africa and the DRC and the benefits mining companies, African governments and communities can reap if all parties work together. Video and editing: Nicholas Boyd.

Disruptive forces set to change power utility business models

1st February 2019 It appears that several disruptive forces are set to threaten the traditional power utility business model. Distributed power generation, technological advances and changing customer perspectives are among some of the major influencers responsible for this transformative change. This volatile... 

Disruptive forces set to change power utility  business models
Photo by Creamer Media
ENERGY FUTURE The theme of this year’s Africa Energy Indaba is Africa’s Energy Future

Opinion: Will unbundling Eskom ensure a sustainable electricity system?  

By: Tobias Bischof-Niemz     30th January 2019 That Eskom needs to be restructured is no longer in question. In its current form, the organisation poses a systemic risk to the South African economy and is ‘too big to fail’. The real question is what form this restructuring should take. For sure, the generation assets need to be separated from... 

Opinion: Will unbundling Eskom ensure a sustainable electricity system?
Photo by Creamer Media
Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz

SolarAfrica, Inspired Evolution establishes fund for solar PV solutions

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th January 2019 Solar financing specialist SolarAfrica, together with investment manager Inspired Evolution, have signed a R100-million equity investment facility that will contribute to a R500-million fund for financing solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions. The funding joint venture allows SolarAfrica to... 

SolarAfrica, Inspired Evolution establishes fund for solar PV solutions

Modules finalisation nearing completion

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 The South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec) has taken on the custodian role as the national renewable-energy-sector educator and hopes to have finalised all five occupational certificates of the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Qualification through its collaboration with Manufacturing,... 

Modules finalisation nearing  completion
HOME BASE Saretec is based at the Cape Peninsular University of Technology

Solar inverter available for water pumps

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 Obtaining water in rural and domestic environments from boreholes, ponds and dams is now easier, with technical solutions provider BMG’s Motoline P19000-S series of solar inverters for photovoltaic (PV) water pumps.   The solar inverters are used to power pumps for agricultural irrigation and... 

Solar inverter available for water pumps
EASY PEASY Solar inverters make rural irrigation systems easier to power

Solar streetlights installed at mine

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 Lighting manufacturer BEKA Schréder’s LEDlume-midi 36/55W luminaire, used in solar lighting solutions has been used at four intersections leading to iron-ore and manganese mine Assmang’s Black Rock mine, in the Northern Cape. “The intersections leading to the different sections of the mine have... 

Solar streetlights installed at mine
ILLUMINATING The solar installation at the Black Rock mine has made the intersections leading to the mine more visible and safer

Major upgrades to start at six airports

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     25th January 2019 South African airport management company Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) announced that upgrades and improvements over the next three to eight years at six of the country’s airports will cost about R26-billion. The upgrades and improvements are primarily to improve passenger facilities... 

Major upgrades to  start at six airports
UPGRADES AND IMPROVEMENTS Realignment of the runway at Cape Town International Airport is expected to start this year

Investors will continue to invest in solar

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 Specialist banking company Investec Bank will continue to offer funding to viable projects in the renewables sector as solar photovoltaic (PV) technology becomes more cost effective. Southern Africa – more notably the Northern Cape province, in South Africa, and Namibia – is considered as one of... 

Investors will continue to invest in solar
ANDRE WEPENER Asserts that South Africa’s recent reinvestment of power-generation projects are capital intensive

Improved film helps extend solar panel lifetime

By: Halima Frost     25th January 2019 With a focus on continuous innovation, science multinational DuPont is developing a new and improved clear Tedlar film to increase efficiency and the life of a solar panel well beyond the industry standard of 30 years. The Tedlar film is made of polyvinyl fluoride polymer – which is a more... 

Improved film helps  extend solar panel lifetime
CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE Solar panels are showing signs of deterioration sooner than anticipated owing to harsher environments

Fourways office park goes solar

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     14th December 2018 To convert Willow Wood Office Park, in Fourways, Gauteng, to using solar energy, Heartwood Properties has partnered with SolarSaver, which offers a rent-to-own model that does not require any capital outlay, to reduce the building’s footprint and save on electricity costs. All indications are... 

Off-grid rural home concept launched in Rwanda

By: Schalk Burger     14th December 2018 UK-based solar-power venture company Bboxx has launched its 2020 solar-powered off-grid home concept in Rwanda. The Bboxx Tomorrow’s Rural Home has a 50 W photovoltaic panel mounted on the roof and can be bought on a three-year payment plan. The home was created by Bboxx and partners using smart... 

Off-grid rural home concept launched in Rwanda
MODERN RURAL HOME The Bboxx rural home is designed to bring the on-grid experience in an off-grid location

15 on Orange’s PVT energy system now fully operational

By: Simone Liedtke     11th December 2018 The newly installed Solarus energy system on the roof of the 15 on Orange Hotel, in Cape Town, is now fully operational. According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the hybrid photovoltaic and thermal (PVT) project is currently the largest in Cape Town and is a system that provides the luxury... 

15 on Orange’s PVT energy system now fully operational
The newly installed Solarus energy system on the roof of the 15 on Orange Hotel, in Cape Town

South Africa should not be over-reliant on renewable energy for its future electricity needs 

By: Rebecca Campbell     6th December 2018 The proposal of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2018 that wind, solar and gas generation account for a combined total of 42% of South Africa’s total installed electricity capacity by 2030 was most unwise, AFRA-NEST Regional Coordinator Dr Anthonie Cilliers has warned. (AFRA stands... 

South Africa should not be over-reliant on renewable energy for its future electricity needs
Photo by Duane Daws/Creamer Media
Jeffreys Bay wind farm

Sener advocates for IRP policy adjustment to cater for ‘reliable, carbon-free’ CSP 

By: Terence Creamer     4th December 2018 Spanish technology group Sener, which has overseen the construction of three concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in South Africa and 29 in total internationally, is urging the South African government to reconsider CSP’s exclusion from the final version of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).... 

Sener advocates for IRP policy adjustment to cater for ‘reliable, carbon-free’ CSP
Photo by Dylan Slater
Sener Southern Africa regional MD Siyabonga Mbanjwa

100 MW Karoshoek Solar One CSP project commissioned in Northern Cape

By: Marleny Arnoldi     3rd December 2018 The 100 MW Karoshoek Solar One project was commissioned on November 30 – the latest success in government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Karoshoek is a concentrated solar project (CSP) that harvests the sun’s energy through a series of concave... 

100 MW Karoshoek Solar One CSP project commissioned in Northern Cape
Karoshoek Solar One plant

100 MW CSP project, developed by black-owned IPP, enters commercial operation  

By: Terence Creamer     30th November 2018 A new 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, developed by black-owned independent power producer (IPP) Emvelo, officially entered into commercial operation this week, providing Eskom with a new dispatchable generation option at a time of severe supply-side constraints. Located in Upington,... 

100 MW CSP project, developed by black-owned IPP, enters commercial operation
The Ilanga CSP1 plant

Zambia targets 200 MW of solar power to reduce hydro dependency

By: Reuters     28th November 2018 Zambia is seeking proposals from potential developers of solar power projects with a combined 200 MW capacity as it tries to diversify its energy mix away from hydroelectric power. Energy Minister Matthew Nkhuwa said in a statement at an investment conference on Tuesday that the 200 MW would be... 

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