Cape Town, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 10 June 2011 – The commercial solar industry in South Africa has received a great boost through this month’s announcement by South African public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba that the African Development Bank had approved a loan of US$365 million to Eskom.
It was made very clear in the announcement that Eskom had received this as part of its renewable energy project build programme in line with the IRP.
The National Treasury has reacted very positively to the news. “One of the requirements for Eskom to access funding from the World Bank was that they undertake renewable projects. The funding from the AfDB will enable Eskom to follow through on its commitments,” said Avril Halstead, chief director: asset and liability, National Treasury.
During his parliamentary address, minister Gigaba also noted that additional investment was needed in the renewable energy industry. “Eskom’s programme alone would not guarantee security of supply, and the country would need additional investment in new electricity generating capacity which must be secured from the private sector over the next few years up to the delivery of the first unit of the Medupi Power Station,” he said.
Investment opportunities in the solar energy industry on the continent will be explored during Solar Energy Africa, which takes place in Johannesburg in September during a meeting of private investors and the public sector.
Solar Energy Africa programme director Lindiwe Nkosi points out that financing and investment of solar energy projects in Africa has always been the stumbling block preventing governments and utilities from launching out into this readily accessible form of energy. “The government cannot achieve renewable energy projects alone and this is the time where the private sector can play an important role in energy distribution,” she explains.
Solar Energy Africa will tackle the investment environment for solar projects in Africa, and international speakers will provide valuable information on how to build a successful solar industry.