4 June 2013 – The only South African owned photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer officially opened its manufacturing plant in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on Thursday the 23rd of May 2013.
Chairman of ART Solar, which was established by local entrepreneurs, Eshu Seevnarayan, says, “Important considerations for us in establishing ART Solar were maximising local content of the modules, black economic empowerment, job creation and enhanced aesthetics of our products. There is a perception that PV modules can be unattractive, but with the latest designs, materials and manufacturing techniques, ART Solar gives architects, designers and builders the freedom to be creative with this flexible building material, with no compromise on performance.”
An advantage for the local market is that funding for renewable energy projects is available. South Africa will also benefit from understanding the limitations and successes of solar power projects implemented around the world.
This newly established facility has the capacity to manufacture 250,000 PV modules annually. This is the equivalent to 75 MW of electricity, which is sufficient to power at least 15,000 homes a year.
These modules are easy to install and require no maintenance, apart from occasional cleaning. Other important features are the 25 year guarantee offered by ART Solar and an estimated 40 year lifetime of the module. The company also offers a technical advisory and support service throughout the country.
The company has made a significant investment in the latest equipment from Swiss equipment manufacturer – Meyer Burger Swiss Solar Systems − and benefits from shared technology with global PV specialists. ART Solar’s PV modules, which adhere to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) specifications, are certified by test institute TüV Rheinland in Germany.
ART Solar has also initiated a PV competence network which encompasses members from various disciplines that include wholesalers, installers, architects, property developers and owners, as well as engineers, construction companies, hospitals and academic institutions.