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The latest news and views from Solar Media, organisers of Solar Energy East Africa & Solar Energy West Africa
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South Africa: Absa Enters SA Energy-saving Fray

South Africa: Absa Enters SA Energy-saving Fray | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

ABSA, South Africa’s biggest bank by client base, said it now offered its customers the opportunity to select and finance a fully-customised renewable energy solution that fits around their lifestyle and financial circumstances.

The solution, according to officials, would allow them to take the first step towards being in control of their household’s daily electricity needs.

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Could this be the world's most efficient solar electricity system?

Could this be the world's most efficient solar electricity system? | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it
A new solar electricity generation system that developers claim is the most efficient in the world, is being tested in South Africa’s Kalahari desert.

The Swedish company behind the project - which combines military technology with an idea developed by a 19th-century Scottish engineer and clergyman - says it is on the verge of building its first commercial installation.

In the remote Northern Cape province, huge mirrors reflect the sun across the brown Kalahari sand. This is the test site for Swedish company Ripasso, which is using the intense South African sun and local manufacturing know-how to develop their cutting-edge kit.

“Our whole team in South Africa has been hired locally, and our new systems have all been built with local South African labour. It works great,” says CEO Gunnar Larsson.

This is one of the few operational small-scale concentrated solar energy systems of its kind in the world. 34% of the sun’s energy hitting the mirrors is converted directly to grid-available electric power, compared to roughly half that for standard solar panels.
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Suntech to open South Africa warehouse, doubts over manufacturing plans | PV-Tech

Suntech to open South Africa warehouse, doubts over manufacturing plans | PV-Tech | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

Module manufacturer Suntech appears to have rowed back on plans to establish a manufacturing hub in South Africa.

 

In July 2014, the company unveiled a new subsidiary to serve the African market with the potential for a local manufacturing presence.

Then CEO Eric Luo said: “Given the country's dedication to growing renewable energies, Suntech is exploring the potential of locating manufacturing, assembly and warehousing facilities as well as offering after-sales services in the market. This would enable Suntech to quickly supply a greater volume of PV modules to meet growing demand and serve as a gateway to additional markets in the region.”

 

However, in a statement released on Monday, the company only committed to warehousing only

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Eskom still facing massive 18 000MW shortfall

Eskom still facing massive 18 000MW shortfall | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

A policy paper released by think-tank the IRR on Wednesday has found that South Africa faces a far greater electricity shortfall than is commonly estimated.

Eskom is still facing a massive 18 000MW power shortfall, says engineer Andrew Kenny in an analysis published in @Liberty, the policy bulletin of the IRR.

“If the economy grows at the inadequate rate of 3% of GDP a year, by 2030 we’ll need another 18 000MW, equivalent to four more Kusiles or eight more Koebergs.

“In the meantime, several of our existing coal stations – built in the 1970s with an expected 40-year life – are being run into the ground and will need to be replaced by 2030, if not before,” said Kenny.

He said the country's "precarious electricity supply is a national crisis which is crippling our economy".

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S.Africa could see a temporary increase in electricity levy

S.Africa could see a temporary increase in electricity levy | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

South African Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene has proposed a temporary increase in the electricity levy from 3.5c/kWh to 5.5c/kWh.

 

This is in an attempt to assist in demand management, he told Parliament on Wednesday during the 2015 Budget Review.

 

“I am proposing a number of tax measures to promote energy efficiency, which will be discussed further with industry, the electricity regulator, Eskom and other interested parties,” Nene said.

“This additional 2c/kWh will be withdrawn when the electricity shortage is over.”

 

According to the review, the additional revenue will be used to fund the broadening of the scope of the energy-efficiency savings tax incentive to include co-generation and an increase in the amount available for the incentive.

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Zuma to launch SA’s first commercial solar power plant

Zuma to launch SA’s first commercial solar power plant | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

With the country in the midst of an energy crisis, a solar energy plant in the Northern Cape town of Pofadder is set to provide some welcome relief for Eskom. 

President Jacob Zuma is expected to officially launch the country's first commercial solar power plant today.

With an abundant supply of sunshine all year round, the Northern Cape is the perfect location for the country's first commercial solar power station. 
 
The KaXu Solar One power plant will produce 100 megawatts of much-needed electricity, which is the equivalent of powering 80,000 households.    
 
The plant has been built by Spanish company Abengoa and its construction has provided much-needed economic stimulus to the quiet town.

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BD Live on Senti Thobejane: "The hidden voice behind SA’s nuclear plans"

BD Live on Senti Thobejane: "The hidden voice behind SA’s nuclear plans" | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

PRESIDENTIAL and Department of Energy adviser Senti Thobejane is certainly no household name, but the consequences of his advice will be felt in years to come in each household and business of the future.

 

Mr Thobejane is one of SA’s most influential people. As adviser to Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and a frequent adviser to President Jacob Zuma, he is in the uniquely powerful position of having direct channels to the two most important people in the Cabinet at the precise moment that SA contemplates radical decisions in its energy future.

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World Bank to Boost Africa’s Power Supply With New Solar Scheme

World Bank to Boost Africa’s Power Supply With New Solar Scheme | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

he World Bank Group will boost access to modern alternative energy across Africa through a new solar energy scheme. According to the multilateral finance institution, the project will create a viable market for private solar power projects and further help governments increase the supply of energy for millions of consumers across the continent.


“The programme tagged ‘Scaling Solar’ reduces the development time and uncertainty for bidders and investors, while lowering tariffs for utilities, which ultimately benefits consumers,” a statement from the World Bank Group read.

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Africa's new breed of 'solar-preneurs'

Africa's new breed of 'solar-preneurs' | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it
Laura Dinnewell's insight:

African economies may be booming, but continued growth and quality of life are being jeopardised by lack of power.

 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates 585 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, with the electrification rate as low as 14.2% in rural areas.

 

The problem is most acute in East Africa, where only 23% of Kenyans; 10.8% of Rwandans; and 14.8% of Tanzanians have access to an electricity supply, according to the World Bank.

 

In spite of efforts to get people onto the grid, population growth has meant these figures stay fairly steady, with the majority of people still using costly and unhealthy forms of energy for cooking and lighting.

 

A number of companies and organisations on the continent have identified solar power as the solution.

 

And a new breed of "solar-preneurs" is emerging, increasing access to power and generating revenues at the same time.

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Gauteng moving towards renewable energy

Gauteng moving towards renewable energy | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

GAUTENG is moving towards renewable energy to take pressure off the struggling national energy grid, infrastructure development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said on Tuesday.

 

"Solar energy and energy for landfill gas are the most obvious short-term (projects) that we have embarked on.... (They) will be implemented at provincial and municipal level"

 

Solar panels were being used by many government buildings in the city centre, she said.

 

"We have also started a process of ensuring the boilers we use in our hospitals will be run by natural gas and not by coal."

 

Ms Mayathula-Khoza said government was implementing many initiatives across different sectors and was developing targets for different sources of energy.

 

She pointed to government’s willingness to enter into power purchase agreements with the private sector.

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Actis to set up $1.9bn renewable business in Africa - FT.com

Actis to set up $1.9bn renewable business in Africa - FT.com | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

Actis, the UK-listed private equity group, is to set up a $1.9bn renewable energy business in Africa, in an attempt to tap the continent’s resources and meet its growing demand for electricity. 


Lekela Power, as the new company is called, will be a joint venture with Mainstream, a wind and solar developer that already works in partnership with Actis in Chile. Actis will take 60 per cent of the equity in new business — which it said would run to a maximum of $220m — and Mainstream the other 40 per cent, with the rest of the funding provided as debt, from South African banks and development finance institutions.

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A hitchhiker's guide through the South African electricity system, PART SIX | Daily Maverick

A hitchhiker's guide through the South African electricity system, PART SIX | Daily Maverick | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it
It's going to get ugly here, so we, as South Africans, need to have much better understanding of our country's electricity system, Eskom, our consumption patterns and pricing, the cost of load-shedding and how we can, if indeed we can, escape from the precarious situation in which we find ourselves these days. So we thought the best way to present it to you, dear traveller through the South African electrical space-time continuum, would be through this extensive hitchhiker's guide in six parts. Today, Part SIX: Building New Generating Capacity: Proceed with CAUTION. Entire series conceptualised and written by DIRK DE VOS.
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Shopping centres move to renewable energy solutions

Shopping centres move to renewable energy solutions | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

As South Africa’s energy crisis worsens with no indication of abating, more JSE-listed property counters are starting to place renewable energy solutions on the agenda.

 

Eskom is not only battling to keep the lights on, the power utility’s cash flow issues are threatening an increase in electricity tariffs. Rolling power outages are now seemingly a part of daily life due, Eskom says, to the lack of maintenance of the country’s power system.


It is this precarious energy scenario which has prompted shopping centres to investigate the benefits of renewable energy solutions.

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DOE Budget Vote: South Africa works to stop load shedding

DOE Budget Vote: South Africa works to stop load shedding | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

The current load shedding incidents are receiving urgent attention with several steps being taken to address this, including the finalisation of the Integrated Energy Plan, says Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

 

"I want to reassure South Africans that the load shedding which prevails is receiving our highest priority for urgent resolution. Partnerships have been established between [the] government, labour, business and civil society to find solutions to our problems, in keeping with the great spirit of our country," she said.

 

Delivering the Department of Energy’s budget vote this morning, the minister said the government's urgent response to load shedding had accelerated the finalisation of the much-awaited Integrated Energy Plan.

 

"Once approved by [the] Cabinet, the Integrated Energy Plan will be published as a policy document. This plan will inform our future energy mix and prioritise policy interventions for future programmes within the energy sector," she told Parliament.

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SunEdison to build 86-megawatt South Africa solar power project - Moneyweb

SunEdison to build 86-megawatt South Africa solar power project - Moneyweb | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

SunEdison, the best-performing US solar company, was awarded a contract to build an 86-megawatt power project by the South African government.

The company will build the Droogfontein 2 solar project 20 kilometers (12.4 miles)south of Kimberly in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, the Maryland Heights, Missouri-based developer said Wednesday in a statement.

Solar power plants are competitive with fossil-fuel energy and can be brought online “far more quickly than conventional power plants” to help relieve South Africa’s strained electricity grid, Enrique Collado, SunEdison general manager for Africa, said in the statement.

SunEdison expects to complete solar and wind projects with 2,100 to 2,300 megawatts of capacity this year. Installations are expected to rise next year to 2,800 to 3,800 megawatts.

In South Africa, the company has developed 130 megawatts of projects since entering the market in 2011.

Eskom, the country’s national utility, will purchase the power from the project under a 20-year purchase agreement.

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Politicsweb - The rise and fall of Eskom - IRR - FEATURES

Politicsweb - The rise and fall of Eskom - IRR - FEATURES | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

Eskom is seldom out of the news these days and always in it for the wrong reasons.  South Africa's precarious electricity supply, for which Eskom is almost entirely responsible, presents a national crisis.  The desperate shortage of electricity is crippling our economy.  Because of inadequate generation capacity, our existing power stations, now creaking with age and wear, are being run into the ground and failing more and more often.  Their availability -- ability to produce power at any moment - is dropping dangerously.  The new power stations are years behind schedule.  Load shedding and black-outs threaten us every month.  To explain these problems and to solve them, there is a clamour from our public commentators and ‘experts', some of it sensible, most silly.  This is an attempt to show what went wrong and how it can be remedied. 

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South Africa pension fund pays $1.8 bln for stakes in two solar power projects | Reuters

South Africa pension fund pays $1.8 bln for stakes in two solar power projects | Reuters | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's biggest pension fund has paid 22 billion rand ($1.8 billion) for stakes in two solar power stations expected to add 200 megawatts of power to the national grid, it said on Wednesday.

 

The state-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC) said it has taken 20 percent stakes Ilanga and Xina power stations in the Northern Cape province.

 

The PIC, which buys bonds in renewable energy projects, said it will also lend 600 million rand to the Ilanga project.

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SA’s green energy drive in jeopardy? - Business News | IOL Business

SA’s green energy drive in jeopardy? - Business News | IOL Business | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

Cape Town - South Africa's hopes of becoming one of the world's top renewable energy hubs are dimming due to poor infrastructure and delays as cash-strapped state utility Eskom is distracted by a scramble to keep the lights on.

 

Chronic electricity shortages are one of the biggest brakes on growth in Africa's most developed economy as regular blackouts strangle industries from mining to manufacturing and pile pressure on President Jacob Zuma's government.

 

Zuma laid out ambitious goals last month to increase power generation capacity, including plans to boost installed renewable energy capacity to 9 600 MW by 2030 from just 1 600 MW now, out of a total capacity of 44 175 MW.

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Pay-as-you-go solar power takes off in Africa

Pay-as-you-go solar power takes off in Africa | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

In Kenya the cell phone is being used to transform the way that people consume energy. M-KOPA Solar – the word 'kopa' is Swahili for 'borrowed' – is a Nairobi-based business that has pioneered the idea of "pay-as-you-go" solar energy in Africa.

 

The idea behind the business is based on harnessing the broad use of mobile payments in Africa. The industry there is already vast: Nigeria based mobile payments company Paga has more than 2.4 million customers, to give one example.

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Sub-Saharan Africa's electricity demand to quadruple by 2040: McKinsey

Sub-Saharan Africa's electricity demand to quadruple by 2040: McKinsey | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

Global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company says it expects the electricity demand to quadruple by 2040.


This is against the background of electricity challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. 

 

McKinsey & Company released the Brighter Africa Report that looks at the electricity demand and possibilities of private sector investment in the energy space.

 

According to the report, inadequate electricity supply slows GDP growth by 1 to 3 percentage points annually and leaves 600 million Africans without electricity.

 

The report, which comes from the company’s Electric Power and Natural Gas practice, highlights how Africa could meet a demand for electricity that is expected to quadruple in the next 25 years.

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Solar power for new Cape Town housing

Solar power for new Cape Town housing | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

Cape Town - Load shedding will become a dim memory for some residents of Belhar when work is completed next year on Cape Town’s first low-cost housing project to have solar-powered lighting.

“Residents will not be left in the dark when load shedding occurs,” said mayor Patricia de Lille.

 

“Not only is this good for the environment, it will also reduce residents’ electricity costs.”

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Is the sun rising on an African solar revolution?

Is the sun rising on an African solar revolution? | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

More and more solar farms are being built across Africa. One of the biggest is in South Africa where a gigantic solar farm near Kimberley generates clean energy for more than 80,000 homes.

 

In Ghana, a 155 megawatt solar farm is being built and there are similar plans in Morocco too.

 

The problem is that more energy is needed, especially when you consider that nine out of 10 people in rural Kenya do not have access to mains electricity.

 

This demand for energy has seen a rise in African solar energy entrepreneurs.

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SA Chamber of Mines: Everyone needs to muck in on energy, Eskom won't do it alone

SA Chamber of Mines: Everyone needs to muck in on energy, Eskom won't do it alone | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

After the South African Chamber of Mines came out in strong support of some of the mining and power aspects covered in Thursday’s State of the Nation Address, President of the Chamber of Mines, Mike Teke, joined Alec in the CNBC studios to discuss their plan to work on growing investment in the mining sector after a successful Mining Indaba last week.

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Why Tesla's battery for your home should terrify utilities

Earlier this week, during a disappointing Tesla earnings call, Elon Musk mentioned in passing that he’d be producing a stationary battery for powering the home in the next few months. It sounded...
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IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol is named Agency’s next Executive Director

IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol is named Agency’s next Executive Director | African Solar PV News | Scoop.it

The Governing Board of the International Energy Agency (IEA) this week confirmed the appointment of Dr. Fatih Birol as the next Executive Director of the Agency. He will succeed Ms. Maria van der Hoeven, who will complete her four-year term on August 31, 2015.

 

This marks one of the rare occasions that the head of an international organisation has been selected from within its ranks. Renowned in the energy field, Dr. Birol joined the IEA in 1995 and has risen to now hold the positions of Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics. In this role, he oversees the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook publication, which is recognised as the most authoritative source of strategic analysis of global energy markets. He is also the founder and chair of the IEA Energy Business Council, which provides a forum to enhance co-operation between the energy industry and energy policy makers.

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