Categories: RE

by Peter


Categories: RE

by Peter


Spanish solar tracking group establishes formal presence in South Africa

The 94.3 MWp Sishen PV Plant in the Northern Cape





Spanish solar tracker and structures specialist STI Norland has, since the start of October, established an active presence in South Africa, which it views as an attractive market for utility scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.

An office and warehouse facility is being established in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, and STI Norland South Africa is headed by Duncan Palmer, who has been appointed as CEO.


Palmer tells Engineering News that the company, which is headquartered in Pamplona, Spain, has already supplied structures to South African projects, including the 94.3 MWp Sishen PV Plant in the Northern Cape.

The decision to invest in a standalone office, initially supported from Spain, was made early in 2020, but due to the onset of Covid-19, the South African unit began operating formally on October 1.


Globally the company has provided structures for PV generators with a combined capacity of more than 6 000 MWp and in 2020 alone received orders exceeding 2 500 MWp for its state-of-the-art dual-row solar trackers, initially introduced in 2017. It is the sixth largest tracker provider worldwide and largest provider in the southern hemisphere.

The South African unit will focus on PV projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa with the aim of reducing logistics costs and lead times.

In South Africa, however, meeting the local-content requirements of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is a key objective, and an important drive for the establishment of the STI Norland South Africa office.

STI Norland, which has manufacturing operations in Spain and Brazil, and can mainly supply from Brazil, China and India does not intend to establish its own manufacturing facility in South Africa. Instead, Palmer says the group will tap into existing manufacturing infrastructure, as the expertise and capacity already exist.

“Steel is the largest component in STI Norland dual-row solar trackers and local manufacturing will reduce logistic lead times and costs to the continent while supporting local job creation.

“We will provide tooling, quality management and support the production process, while motors and controllers will be imported,” Palmer outlines.

While many of the initial solar PV projects built under the REIPPPP incorporated fixed-tilt structures, by Bid Window 4 (BW4) all the projects had adopted tracker solutions in a bid to improve the economics of the solar farms.

The recent gazetting, by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, of a Ministerial determination opening the way for the procurement of more than 11 800 MW of new electricity capacity, is expected to facilitate the launch of BW 5 before the end of January 2021.

The determination includes an allocation of 2 000 MW of solar PV for the coming three years.

“We will be tendering on BW 5 projects – it's a core focus,” Palmer says.  


Subscribe to our free newsletter.

Business Report 1 July 2012. Optimal Energy chief executive Kobus Meiring is a disappointed man. The company is the developer of South Africa’s electric car but it officially closed on Friday with the loss of about 60 jobs. This follows its failure to get further funding from the government and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)...

Related Posts

  • By Dan MurtaughIn some ways solar is having too much success in China.Installing panels has become so popular that Chinese officials drafted By Dan Murtaugh Solar outshines wind to lead China’s clean-energy transition In some ways solar is having too much success in China. Installing panels has become so popular that Chinese officials drafted regulations […]

  • By Todd WoodyElectrify Your LifeWith the first-ever US climate bill approaching passage in Congress, it’s time to reconsider the calculus fo By Todd Woody Electrify Your Life With the first-ever US climate bill approaching passage in Congress, it’s time to reconsider the calculus for when American households think about going solar. If the bill is passed into law, that transition will instantly […]

  • By Ethan van Diemen 26 Jul 2022 original article here President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced what he called an ‘energy action plan’ to tackle South Africa’s power crisis. This is what the plan entails. On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a set of actions to respond to South Africa’s yearslong energy crisis. “The […]

  • Ramaphosa doubles next renewables round, scraps 100 MW cap on distributed plant and moots feed-in tariff as he unveils load-shedding crisis response President Cyril Ramaphosa 25TH JULY 2022 BY: TERENCE CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR ARTICLE ENQUIRY      SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE FONT SIZE: –+ President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled several far-reaching interventions – including a doubling in the allocation for the next renewables […]