Solar industry organisation the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) says it welcomes the inclusion of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects among preferred bidders for the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) announced by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on March 18.
“With technological advancement, the reduced costs, the scalability and rapid build times of projects, solar PV should remain a key technology choice in meeting the country’s capacity requirements,” said SAPVIA COO Niveshen Govender on March 19.
The emergency procurement round showed that crises can spur innovation and action, he added.
“While there is still room to better research and understand some of the technology choices of the RMIPPPP, we welcome the Minister’s immediate follow-up confirmation of the release of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme Bid Window 5 (BW 5).”
New possibilities would be realised with both PV and PV-hybrid projects playing a role in South Africa’s energy mix. With the commitment to procure 2 000 MW of solar PV capacity across BW 5 and BW 6 this year, there was much to look forward to, said Govender.
“Local manufacturing and content must continue to be prioritised in all future procurement rounds and SAPVIA will work with members to develop local PV value chains so that our members are ready to meet the new requirements of local content in the forthcoming requests for proposals.”
SAPVIA is encouraged by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s moves to enable increased embedded generation and is seeking clarity on increasing the distributed generation licence exemption cap.
“We will continue to engage with our counterparts in government to clarify the details and legislation required for self-generation, as well as the licensing and registration regime for embedded generation,” he added.
SAPVIA also welcomes and strongly supports the changes announced to the economic development requirements of BW 5, which will ensure the participation of black women in the ownership of future projects and procurement rounds, as well as a more concerted focus on skills development in the energy sector.
“Over the past decade, SAPVIA has been driving skills development across the solar PV value chain. Our focus has been on enhancing the skills of our members to create a world-leading sector that delivers socioeconomic transformation and upliftment across South Africa.
“Recently, through our Developing Developers programme, in partnership with [the South African Wind Energy Association], we are working with current and potential developers to give them access to the knowledge and skills needed to take a renewable energy project from initial planning through to commissioning. This grassroots capacity development is well aligned with the department’s move to increase requirements for black women participation,” said Govender.
“The Minister has responded to the calls of industry to act quickly and restart renewable generation capacity and we look forward to solar PV playing a role in delivering energy security and powering South Africa’s economic recovery,” he concluded.