Despite the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (Nersa’s) announcement this week that the outcome of its renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) review would be delayed until mid-June, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters told lawmakers on Thursday that the procurement programme should begin before the end of June and that transactions for the first 1 000 MW of Refit capacity should be concluded by year-end.
“We hope to conclude at least 1 000 MW of renewable energy transactions by December this year, in time for showcasing as we host COP 17 in Durban,” she said in her Budget vote speech to Parliament. South Africa will host the 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP17, in Durban from November 28 to December 9.
“Apart from the showcasing, this programme is aligned to the New Growth Path and will substantially contribute to President [Jacob] Zuma’s vision on job creation.”
However, Nersa’s proposed reduction of the Refit rates had caused some concern among potential renewables project developers, with some warning that projects could be made marginal by the cuts.
But during the media briefing ahead of Peters’ speech, Department of Energy officials argued that Nersa’s review was in line with its policy for yearly reassessments of the rates, while the proposed cuts were reflective of changes that had taken place globally with regard to the capital on operating costs for wind and solar projects.
Officials also indicated that the appetite for the first 1 000 MW under Refit had been extremely strong and that there should still be sufficient uptake under a revised regime.
When asked to clarify the future procurement process, the department said that Eskom would be the ultimate buyer, while Nersa would govern the process and its timing.
After the next Nersa board meeting at the end of May, a final decision would be made on how the Refit procurement process would proceed. The department said it was hopeful that the programme would be in a position to be launched by June.
What was somewhat unclear was whether government might favour a competitive bidding process for the first round. Developers have warned that such an approach, which was likely to find support in the early stages, might lower the overall appetite for the South African renewables market in the longer term.
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
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.
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: CSI