7 June 2012 – Solairedirect Southern Africa, a subsidiary of French solar power operator Solairedirect, has won coveted preferred bidder status for two solar photovoltaic projects in South Africa, totalling 18 MW.

South African energy minister Dipuo Peters announced that 19 projects, out of 79 bidders, had been named as preferred bidders in the second phase of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), of which nine relate to solar photovoltaic power.

Solairedirect Southern Africa was successful in its bids to develop solar photovoltaic (PV) projects at Aurora and Vredendal, both in the Western Cape Province. Both projects involve using crystalline technology modules produced at the company’s factory in Cape Town, with a contracted output of 9.0 MW and 8.8 MW respectively.

Solairedirect Southern Africa managing director Ryan Hammond says, “Our teams in South Africa and overseas have committed a considerable amount of time and effort into this process, and it is rewarding to have submitted not one, but two successful bids.”

The preferred bidders in this round of the REIPPP have until December 2012 to complete financial closing.

“Cost has been and will be a critical deciding factor for the evaluation of projects. This has led to a highly competitive situation among the bidders, and the projected costs of PV have already dropped by 40% between the first and second REIPPP bidding rounds. We expect this trend to continue in further bidding rounds.

“But economic development remains an important consideration also, with a requirement being for us to show how we will beneficiate the communities in which we operate,” Hammond says. “We’re confident in our integrated business model, we’re confident in our ability to deliver superior value for our country and its communities, and we look forward to being given the opportunity to be one of the first companies to provide viable and cost-effective renewable energy to the South African market.”