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Abnormal circumstances require urgent response

SAPVIA applauds the determination put forward by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe to mobilise the private sector to address the threats to energy security but cautions that there is no more time to waste.

Responding to the Budget Vote Speech of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) said that the private sector stands ready and able to act with pace to meet the rise in demand with a secure, sustainable energy supply. The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association is a not-for-profit body which consists of active players in South Africa’s photovoltaic market.

“Stakeholders from across the renewables sector, and specifically solar PV, need only to be given the green light on bid window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), and they will invest and drive the infrastructure development we so desperately need,” said Niveshen Govender, COO SAPVIA.

“Stakeholders from across the renewables sector, and specifically solar PV, need only to be given the green light on bid window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), and they will invest and drive the infrastructure development we so desperately need,” said Niveshen Govender, COO SAPVIA.

“Solar PV represents the least costly and fastest to commercial operation of all energy sources and will address the Minister’s concerns that there is ‘insufficient time to bring in grid-scale generation options due to long lead times.”

Utility Scale Solar PV projects (eg. 75MW) take between 18-24 months from signing the PPA to commercial operation date (COD). This could even be achieved in 12 months given an enabling environment. On the other hand, SSEG projects (eg. 10MW) take 12 months on average and could be reduced to 6-8 months given an enabling environment.

“The urgency with which the Minister is treating the situation is welcomed, but this needs to be measured in actions rather than words,” added Govender.

“SAPVIA welcomes the proposed amendments to New Generation Capacity Regulations and would urge that the clarification for requirements from municipalities when they apply for Section 34 Determinations from the Department come sooner rather than later.”

“As a priority, the Minister must increase the current exemption from licencing from 1MW to 10MW for energy generation installations. We believe this is an arbitrary limit set as a policy decision and has no technical basis, and by raising it private sector operators will be able to step into the gap and deliver much-needed supply quickly and with minimal upgrades to a large number of substations, or nodes on the distribution network.”

SAPVIA was at the forefront of calling for the IPP projects signed under bid window 4 to resume construction and we are pleased to have worked closely with the government to ensure that these projects can continue safely towards the commercial operation.

“There really is no time to waste if we are to address the threats to energy security and while SAPVIA understands the Minister’s calls for a coordinated and integrated approach to energy planning and coherent policymaking, we firmly believe that we have already laid the foundations with IRP 2019.”

“There is no need to go back to the drawing board, we must simply allow players in the renewables sector to implement new generation capacity and get bid window 5 of the REIPPPP underway,” ends Govender.

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