Rooftop solar
Mr Jӧrg Mayer, Managing Director at BSW-Solar (left) and Mr Moeketsi Thobela, CEO at SAPVIA (right).
Jӧrg Mayer, Managing Director at BSW-Solar (left) and Moeketsi Thobela, CEO at SAPVIA (right).

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) and the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar), have agreed to collaborate on various initiatives needed to support the continuous growth and development of the rooftop solar PV market in South Africa.

The South African German Energy Programme (SAGEN), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), supports the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in South Africa, in particular the rooftop solar PV market, the South African-based Association said in a company statement.

Dr Sascha Thielmann, SAGEN’s Programme Director said: “We are confident that the cooperation will ensure sustainability, reliability and customer satisfaction in the South African PV rooftop market, based on the experience in Germany.”

SAPVIA strengthens rooftop PV market growth

"The most important aspect of this process is the institution of a framework that will provide assurance to such role players as residential customers, investors, banks, insurance companies, electricity distributors (i.e. municipalities and Eskom), and relevant state organs, that solar PV installations and installers meet minimum internationally bench-marked quality and safety standards," the PV association said.

According to the association, it will take from BSW-Solar’s experience with a similar initiative in Germany, which has resulted in the implementation of what is known as the ‘PV Passport’.

Business-to-business participation

The agreement will also facilitate business-to-business interactions among members of the two associations.

"It is envisaged this will be of great benefit to small-medium enterprises (SMEs) that are active in the PV sector, both in Germany and South Africa," SAPVIA said.

Moeketsi Thobela, CEO at SAPVIA, said: “There has been wide-spread recognition that roof-top PV holds great potential for South Africa. A hint in this regard is the fact that in 2015, new capacity additions from rooftop PV installations (in mega-watts peak or MWp) out-paced those related to the large-scale Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP).”

He added: “Against this background, the requirement for a robust quality and safety assurance system cannot be over-emphasised.”

Jӧrg Mayer, Managing Director at BSW-Solar agreed, stating: “Our experience from Germany’s PV market – comprising rooftop and ground-mounted PV systems with total installed capacity of close to 40,000MWp – is that quality installations are a pre-requisite for the sustainable evolution of this market.”

Mayer continued: “It is our intention to support SAPVIA and key stakeholders in South Africa by sharing our experience in the implementation of a safety and quality assurance system. We therefore look forward to collaborating with SAPVIA on this and other important initiatives, including facilitating business-to-business interactions.”