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Solar News

Molefe’s negative renewables comments attract yet more criticism 

By: Terence Creamer     16th May 2016 Eskom CEO Brian Molefe’s negative comments regarding the performance of renewable energy in South Africa continued to attract criticism on Monday, with a solar photovoltaic (PV) industry body describing Molefe’s views as “ill-informed at best, and misleading at worst”. During a recent update on... 

ACSA unveils Kimberley Airport solar power plant

By: Anine Kilian     13th May 2016 Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) on Friday launched a R13.5-million solar power plant at Kimberley Airport as part of ACSA’s broader plan to install solar farms at all six of its regional airports. Construction of the Kimberley Airport plant got under way in September last year and was... 

ACSA unveils Kimberley Airport solar power plant
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters at the launch of the George Airport solar power plant in February

Saudi group keen to expand South African solar footprint well beyond Bokpoort  

By: Terence Creamer     13th May 2016 Located on a dead flat piece of land about an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Upington and close to the Orange river, the curved solar collector mirrors, gleaming pipes and large molten-salt tanks of the 50 MW Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) plant stand in stark industrial contrast to the... 

Saudi group keen to expand South African solar footprint well beyond Bokpoort
Photo by Duane Daws
The 50 MW Bokpoort CSP plant

Energy sector headed in a positive direction

By: Sascha Solomons     13th May 2016 With State-owned power utility Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations contributing about 10 GW jointly at full operation, global consulting firm KPMG believes the Department of Energy is proactively working towards reaching the National Development Plan’s (NDP) 2030 goal of having about 17 GW... 

Power utility opts to use renewable energy source

By: Sascha Solomons     13th May 2016 Solar system specialists and engineering design company ZRW Mechanika completed the installation of a 50 kW hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant at Wilgers education and community centre near the Kusile power plant in Witbank, Mpumalanga, in January 2016. ZRW Mechanika was awarded the... 

Power utility opts to use renewable energy source
HYBRID SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC Renewable and cost efficient energy source

DoE tests market appetite for three new public-private solar parks

By: Terence Creamer     11th May 2016 The Department of Energy (DoE) indicated on Wednesday that it would canvass the appetite of independent power producers (IPPs) to develop, finance, construct and operate three new Northern Cape solar parks, of between 400 MW and 700 MW in size, in partnership with State-owned companies (SoCs). In... 

DoE tests market appetite for three new public-private solar parks

New infrastructure project development approach needed to address African infrastructure gap

By: David Oliveira     10th May 2016 An alternative approach to infrastructure project development in Africa would be needed to address the significant infrastructure gap on the continent, International Finance Corporation (IFC) infrastructure and natural resources global director Sujoy Bose told delegates at the africainvestor (Ai)... 

100 MW Kathu CSP plant to be operational in 2018 

By: Terence Creamer     10th May 2016 Construction of the 100 MW Kathu Solar Park concentrated solar power (CSP) project, in the Northern Cape, is expected to begin soon, following the signing of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) by the ENGIE-led consortium and South Africa’s State-owned electricity utility Eskom. The... 

100 MW Kathu CSP plant to be operational in 2018
The signing of the Kathu CSP PPA

Government support imperative for solar energy in South Africa

By: Robyn Wilkinson     6th May 2016 One of the biggest challenges hindering large projects in the commercial and industrial sectors in South Africa is the lack of a legal framework enabling the production of alternate sources of energy, says photovoltaic module manufacturer SolarWorld Africa MD Gregor Kuepper. 

Government support imperative for solar  energy in South Africa
SUNMODULE BISUN Solar power generated through innovative technology is a valuable resource in South Africa

Wärtsilä enters the solar energy business

By: Dylan Slater     6th May 2016 Complete life cycle solutions company Wärtsilä is entering the solar energy business by offering utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions.  

Wärtsilä enters the solar energy business
JORDAN POWER Wärtsilä's first solar project in Jordan combines an existing 250 MW engine power plant and a 46 MW solar photovoltaic plant

Enel’s 82.5 MW Paleisheuwel solar plant connected to the grid

By: Creamer Media Reporter      4th May 2016 The South African unit Enel Green Power, itself a subsidiary of Italian energy group Enel, reports that its 82.5 MW Paleisheuwel photovoltaic (PV) power plant has been connected to the grid. Located in the Western Cape, the plant is Enel Green Power’s largest power plant currently in operation in... 

Enel’s 82.5 MW Paleisheuwel solar plant connected to the grid

Renewables programme showcases benefits of public–private collaboration

By: David Oliveira     29th April 2016 The success of the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is a shining example of South Africa’s ability to undertake large infrastructure programmes to boost the local economy, despite the current period of slow growth... 

Energy storage possible standby for grid failure

By: Simon Sonnekus     22nd April 2016 While energy storage may seem like a viable option for standby power initiatives during grid failure, several issues first need to resolved for it to be implemented, South African National Energy Development Institute’s Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development manager Dr Karen... 

South African company stocks French solar hybrid product

22nd April 2016 Electrical solutions consultants, suppliers and engineers Magnet Group has broadened its solar range by introducing France-based electricity distribution company Schneider’s Conext SW, a solar hybrid inverter system which offers reliable solutions for community electrification, residential... 

South African company stocks French solar hybrid product
BACK UP POWER In residential back-up power applications, the Conext SW inverter integrates into the electrical system and converts power from battery reserves to support critical loads

New solar solution on offer for sectional-title market

By: Creamer Media Reporter      20th April 2016 Renewable energy services company SolarAfrica has launched a new rooftop solar solution, tailored specifically for South Africa’s large sectional-title market. The offering is designed to provide homeowners in complexes and estates with immediate access to affordable solar energy without having... 

New solar solution on offer for sectional-title market

New residential energy solution launched in South Africa 

By: Terence Creamer     19th April 2016 A residential energy solution, which allows homeowners to generate and store their own electricity, has been officially launched in the Western Cape market by Energy Partners Home Solutions, a division of PSG. Dubbed the ‘Icon Home Energy Hub’, the solution comprises roof-mounted solar panels... 

New residential energy solution launched in South Africa

17 solar PV plants now commercially operational in the Northern Cape

By: David Oliveira     15th April 2016 The inauguration last month of renewable-energy project developer Solar Capital’s 90 MW De Aar 3 solar photovoltaic (PV) plant, in the Northern Cape, marked the seventeenth solar PV plant to start commercial operation in the province. Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who attended the... 

17 solar PV plants now commercially operational in the Northern Cape
TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON The Northern Cape hosts 100% of the CSP and 65% of the solar PV capacity procured in the REIPPPP bid windows

Growthpoint embarks on its largest rooftop solar projects

By: Mia Breytenbach     15th April 2016 JSE-listed real estate investment trust (Reit) Growthpoint Properties has embarked on its two largest rooftop solar installations, each with a capacity of nearly 1.2 MW, on the rooftops of the Northgate Mall, in Johannesburg, and the Brooklyn Mall, in Pretoria. “Growthpoint has passed the halfway... 

Growthpoint embarks on its largest rooftop solar projects
PROPERTY POWER Growthpoint’s Airport Industria property near Cape Town International Airport is one of the properties that have a solar power system

Rules uncertainty curbing Cape Town’s embedded generation enthusiasm

By: Kim Cloete     15th April 2016 Despite hurdles, Cape Town has surged ahead with alternative ways of procuring energy, with more businesses and households generating excess electricity and then feeding it back into the grid. The City of Cape Town was given permission to be a pilot site for embedded generation, with its first... 

Rules uncertainty curbing Cape Town’s embedded generation enthusiasm

Development of Cape Town’s ecofriendly Blue Rock Village under way

By: Dylan Slater     15th April 2016 The mixed-use Blue Rock Village, valued at R14-billion, is being developed by property development and management company Swisatec as an upgrade to the existing Blue Rock Resort, in Cape Town, incorporating various green aspects.  

Development of Cape Town’s ecofriendly  Blue Rock Village under way
WATERFRONT Blue Rock Village is situated alongside the only lake in the Cape Town

Winery installs 800 kW rooftop solar PV plant 

By: Anine Kilian     12th April 2016 The construction of an 800 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system at wine and spirit producer DGB’s production facility, in Wellington, in the Western Cape, has been completed. The 2 600 solar panel system, which has a 25-year lifespan and which was installed by Terra Firma Solutions, was... 

Winery installs 800 kW rooftop solar PV plant

High-pressure heat exchangers becoming key in Africa

By: Kimberley Smuts     8th April 2016 Local manufacturer and maintenance service provider of utility-scale pulverised coal steam generators, Steinmüller Africa, is now offering turnkey solutions for both shell and tube heat exchangers; both the header-type and the tubesheet-type are offered. These heat exchangers are not only... 

High-pressure heat exchangers becoming key in Africa
INTEGRAL PLANT COMPONENTS Shell and tube heat exchangers are particularly prevalent in Rankine cycle power generation with regeneration, as used in most modern power stations

Molten salt energy storage used in S Africa CSP project

8th April 2016 The Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) project in the Northern Cape is one of the few CSP projects that use heat exchanger as a diffusion medium for the energy stored inside the molten salt. The R5-billion project has one of the highest solar radiation footprints in the world and is being... 

Molten salt energy storage used in S Africa CSP project
CSP PROJECT LAUNCHED Projects uses heat exchanger as a diffusion medium for the energy stored inside the molten salt

Chinese solar systems group homing in on African prospects

By: Schalk Burger     8th April 2016 Chinese solar multinational Trina Solar will focus on the East, West and Southern Africa utility markets over the medium term, and notes that there is significant growth in emerging markets, specifically in Africa, says Trina Solar Africa sales manager Warren Pollard. Pollard is executing the... 

Chinese solar systems group homing in on African prospects
WARREN POLLARD Trina Solar will make further investments in its African operations to support and grow the market

Alternative energy systems boosting African industrial supply chains

By: Schalk Burger     8th April 2016 Alternative energy and storage systems are being used to make various portions of African industrial supply chains more effective and resilient, as well as control energy costs and production disruptions, says electrical equipment specialist firm Eaton alternative energy specialist Winfried... 

Large-scale solar farm entrenches Northern Cape as South Africa’s sun-power capital

By: David Oliveira     8th April 2016 Renewable-energy project developer Solar Capital last month inaugurated the second phase of its De Aar solar farm project, in the Northern Cape, with De Aar 3 adding 90 MW of capacity to the overall project. This was in addition to the first phase of the project, the 85 MW De Aar 1 solar farm,... 

Large-scale solar farm entrenches Northern Cape  as South Africa’s sun-power capital
TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON The success of the De Aar solar farm project highlights the potential for the Northern Cape to become the solar capital of the world

Joburg energy-storage firm eyes export prospects as Southern African installations rise

By: Mia Breytenbach     8th April 2016 Having completed more than a 100 installations of its locally produced lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) Freedom Lite range of batteries across Southern Africa, Johannesburg-based energy solutions provider Freedom Won aims to enhance its production capacity amid growing demand. The Freedom Lite... 

Northern Cape-based Sonnedix PV project nearing completion 

By: Samantha Herbst     6th April 2016 The 86 MW Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska photovoltaic (PV) solar plant project, situated 50 km south-west of Prieska in the Northern Cape, is on schedule, within budget and nearing completion, according to independent power producer Sonnedix, which has undertaken the project with minority partner, local... 

Northern Cape-based Sonnedix PV project nearing completion
Mulilo-Sonnedix-Prieska PV project, Northern Cape

Growthpoint embarks on its largest rooftop solar projects  

By: Mia Breytenbach     30th March 2016 JSE-listed real estate investment trust (Reit) Growthpoint Properties has embarked on its two largest rooftop solar installations, each with a capacity of nearly 1.2 MW, on the rooftops of the Northgate Mall, in Johannesburg, and the Brooklyn Mall, in Pretoria. “Growthpoint has already passed the... 

Growthpoint embarks on its largest rooftop solar projects
Solar panel installation at Growthpoint’s Airport Industria property near the Cape Town International Airport

Eskom efforts to ease grid bottlenecks for renewables backed up by World Bank agency

By: Terence Creamer     30th March 2016 The World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) announced on Wednesday that it had extended €698.9-million in guarantees to South Arica’s Eskom to support transmission infrastructure investments, which would help it alleviate prevailing grid bottlenecks to the connection of... 

Eskom efforts to ease grid bottlenecks for renewables backed up by World Bank agency

Thin-film solar module developer shrugs off IP right challenge, now focused on refining technology

By: Irma Venter     18th March 2016 Vivian Alberts had a tough 2015. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) physicist faced a fierce European challenge to the intellectual property (IP) on his life’s work – a brand of thin-film solar module (TFSM) technology – while also working to make his invention achieve the same efficiency on... 

New solar energy solution to ensure sustainable power supply to off-grid schools

By: Mia Breytenbach     18th March 2016 A new modular solar energy solution the PowerTurtle, valued at about R600 000, was launched at the Pheasant Folly Primary School in Palm Ridge, Gauteng, this month, First presented to the Gauteng Department of Education (DoE) in 2015, the system provides a way for government to provide... 

New solar energy solution to ensure sustainable power supply  to off-grid schools
POWER IN A BOX The PowerTurtle incorporates a unique container-based design in which the solar panels roll out at day and are stored securely at night

De Aar solar project expanded to 175 MW 

By: David Oliveira     17th March 2016 Renewable-energy project developer Solar Capital has inaugurated the second phase of its De Aar solar farm project, with De Aar 3 adding 90 MW of capacity to the overall project. This was in addition to the first phase of the project, the 85 MW De Aar 1 solar farm, which came on line in August 2014. 

De Aar solar project expanded to 175 MW

Solar energy comes slowly out of the shadows in Ethiopia

By: African News Agency      17th March 2016 When it comes to energy generation in Africa, Ethiopia stands out for its ambitious 6 000 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) hydro project. While this huge dam being built on the Blue Nile is getting all the attention, the country is also embarking on other ambitious electricity projects... 

Solar energy comes slowly out of the shadows in Ethiopia

Bokpoort CSP officially inaugurated

By: Anine Kilian     14th March 2016 The R5-billion Bokpoort concentrated solar power (CSP) project was officially inaugurated by Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Commerce and Trade Minister Dr Tawfig Fawzan Alrabiah on Monday.   Located in the Northern Cape and developed by a consortium led by... 

Bokpoort CSP officially inaugurated

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront swims against sluggish economic tide

By: Kim Cloete     11th March 2016 Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is bucking the sluggish trend in the national economy. It pulled in over three-million visitors in December alone, has substantially boosted its coffers and has embarked on some dynamic new developments.  Retail, commercial, leisure and residential developments are all... 

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront swims against sluggish economic tide

Renewable energy sector increasing in ELIDZ 

By: African News Agency      7th March 2016 The renewable energy sector is competing with the automotive sector in terms of investment value inside the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), it emerged on Sunday. The trade and industry department (DTI) said in a statement Ayanda Ramncwana of the ELIDZ told a media tour organised... 

Renewable energy sector increasing in ELIDZ
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