10 August 2010 – By 2030 South Africa’s energy demand will have increased by 100%. Global demand will increase 47% – 70% of this demand will come from new and developing countries including South Africa. In 20 years, 20% of global demand will come from China.

Solutions for renewable energy include photo-voltaic power plants, photo-voltaic buildings, wind power plants and photo-voltaic homes, says Ryan Hammond, managing director of Solaire Direct Southern Africa, a vertically integrated power producer providing a turnkey solar power generation service.

“We need twice the amount of energy to meet demand but the planet needs us to halve CO² emissions to avoid dramatic climate change. Key to addressing this dilemma is energy management and cleaner energy.” Solar PV power – proven technology which is flexible and has minimal impact – is part of the solution.

By 2013, South Africans will be paying R1 per kilowatt hour for electricity. Meanwhile, the average price of PV modules has halved since 2008.

Currently, the average annual solar resource available across most of Southern Africa averages 2 000 kWh/m2. The possible load factor for a solar PV installation in this part of the world is 25-30%, with a 90% supply predictability.

“The advantages of solar photovoltaics are that as energy demand rises, it is quick to deploy, with construction times less than other forms of renewable energy. It offers predictable output from proven technology; it is flexible in terms of plant size and location making it suitable for grid network integration. The environmental impact is minimal, with no reliance on any fuel source except the sun and the majority of the parts recyclable at the end of their working life, the Co² output decreases dramatically.  

Operation and maintenance costs are minimal, with no need for fuel or water to run.”