Solar PV has emerged as big IRP ‘winner’, report asserts

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies have emerged as the “big winner” in South Africa’s 20-year integrated resource plan (IRP) for electricity, which indicates that the PV solutions could deliver 8 400 MW of new capacity by 2030, a new report by Frost & Sullivan argues.
The target could translate into the deployment of a “staggering” 300-MW-a-year of large-scale solar PV from 2012 onwards, potentially transforming the country into a “solar gold mine”.

The report has been published as the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) reviews the country’s renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) rates across all technologies, including solar PV. Under the proposed adjustments, the solar PV Refit rate could be cut by 41,3%, from the R3,94/kWh level promulgated in 2009, to R2,31/kWh in 2011.

However, some developers believe the revised Refit will still be sufficient to attract investors, particularly given that installation and operational costs have been declining in recent years. There is also an international drive to lower the installed cost of PV solutions to $1/W, from current levels of around $3,80/W.

The report notes that PV in South Africa is currently limited to offgrid uses, despite that fact that most of the 21 GW of global capacity has been integrated with the grid, the largest example being the 97-MW Sarnia PV facility, in Canada.

It also argues that South Africa has sufficient land resources to meet the target – Frost & Sullivan calculates that the 8 400-MW plan would require 92 400 acres of land, making the sparsely populated Northern Cape, which also enjoys world-class solar radiation, a likely location.

“The plan to create an area large enough for 46 300 soccer fields will be the largest cluster of solar farms in the world to date, and will be visible from space. The construction of these projects over the next 20 years will no doubt create a significant number of jobs,” the consultancy adds.

Extrapolating figures from the Spanish PV market, which created 28 000 PV-related jobs between 2001 and 2010 while developing 3 000 MW of capacity, Frost & Sullivan estimates that the solution, together with 1 000 MW of concentrated solar power, could yield 60 000 jobs over the next two decades.

As with Spain, whose market is currently facing difficulties, it is anticipated that the bulk of these jobs will be created in the manufacture of components. “Global and local PV manufacturers alike are exploring component manufacturing possibilities in the South African market,” the report states.

It also concludes that South Africa is in a “prime position” to become a key global solar PV market participant, despite the current frustrations associated with recent delays to the procurement process for the first round of renewable energy projects.

“Once the first power purchase agreements (PPAs) are signed, however, the market will flood with activity,” the reports argues, adding that the first PPAs are likely by the end of 2011.

In response to whether the South African consumer can afford the investment, Frost & Sullivan acknowledges that trade-offs will have to be made between economic and environmental imperatives. But it also notes that, while PV has cost disadvantages relative to wind, it had the advantage of being modular and relatively quick to install.

“While the economic well-being of the country should be monitored to avoid generous over-incubatory measures, the benefits of PV are set to provide the nation with clean electricity, and the creation of direct and indirect jobs,” the report concludes

16.05.2011 |

Community Project Ithemba Labantu

The 5Kwp photovoltaic system

The 5Kwp photovoltaic system installed

Maxx Energy is pround to be part of a project that helps the community centre Ihemba Labantu in Phillipi/Cape Town to save energy costs of up to 8.000 Rand per year. Initiator of the project was the german marketing agency KN-Marketing in Worms, which approached various companies in the solar industry and asked on behalf on community referent Otto Kohlstock for help. "The price for electricity was rising by more then 20% over the past two years and will continue to do so", told Otto Kohlstock the managing director of KN-Marketing, Klaus Neugebauer who approached maxx solar&energy in Germany and Bosch Solar in Germany. Both companies were immideately caught by the idea to sponsor a KWp system for the center, whereas KN-Marketing would provide the transport from Germany.

Dieter Ortman from Maxx Energy (Pty) Ltd, the subsidery of maxx solar&energy in Germany was very pleased that his company could contribute to this project."It is great to see that a proven technology like photovoltaic can help the people here in their daily work to help other people."   

The system - consisting of 20 Bosch Solar panels and two SMA inverters and installed by partner company Solarzone from Summerset West - will provide electricity for the small hospital, the soup kitchen that provides up to 200 people with a free meal per day and a workshop.

On April 15th 2011, Otto Kohlstock invited more than 150 people for the official launch of the system. It was a very nice celebration with performances of  a children choir and the Ithema Labantu choir. After the speeches all participants enjoyed some nice food and non-alcoholic drinks outside the church.

Over the next 25 years the solarpanels will produce about 200.000 Kwh of energy and save more than 180 tons of carbon emissions and makes the center partly independent from any energy price hiks that may come in the future.

07.04.2011 | Schlagwörter: