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Rooftop PV projects receive bank support

Confidence is being built within rooftop (PV) projects which are receiving more support from financial institutions and commercial banks

CNBC Africa highlighted the important point surrounding the financial concerns of rooftop (PV) which was discussed at the Solar Indaba 2014 conference late last week in Johannesburg.

Emergent Energy managing director, Yoann Joyeux addressed the audience with positive news on commercial banks being more willing now to fund rooftop (PV) projects:

“We’ve seen a complete shift compared to a year ago. Now a lot of banks are very willing to finance these projects”

“Now when our clients are going to see the banks, the bankers are not saying ‘Solar PV, it’s risky’, they’re not asking questions. They go straight to the balance sheet – if your balance sheet can afford it, they do it.”

Photovoltaic (PV) systems absorb heat directly from the sun which is converted into electricity by means of semiconductors.

The contentious issues surrounding rural electrification may be resolved by installing rooftop solar (PV) technology which is seen to be more affordable than connecting to the national grid, according to the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA).

In agreement with the willingness of banks to get more involved is De Villiers Botha, operations director of Solareff who explained that the banking sector is more willing to become involved by extending these projects onto existing mortgage bonds.

“Up until now, the Achilles Heel for financing was the security of the system. Banks didn’t open their minds to see this as an asset – you attach it to the roof, it’s attached to the property. On a bond, the bank finds that there’s security so that’s a very easy method to do but it costs money”.

Although rooftop solar (PV) was seen as the way forward for Southern Africa the Indaba evoked discussions which illuminated to constant challenges and struggles which need to be addressed before the opportunity can be fully exploited.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.