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Solar photovoltaic: Solar PV manufacturer opens doors in Joburg

Thin filmed solar PV
The total renewable energy capacity in Africa will reach 173GW by 2040 according to the International Energy Agency

In South Africa, a tier 1 solar photovoltaic module manufacturer Vikram Solar has expanded to a third African office in Johannesburg. The other two offices are located in Kenya and Uganda, East Africa.

South Africa’s installed solar photovoltaic capacity is expected to rise to 8.5GW by 2030, which Vikram Solar claims will require investments of over $20 billion (ZAR246 billion).

Neil Borthwick, Vikram Solar’s country manager in South Africa, said: “The expansion of conventional power plant capacities is struggling to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for energy in Africa and, in particular, South Africa. This means that in addition to being on the political agenda, the increased generation of renewable energy is essential to the energy industry and is set to continue.

“Our new office [in Johannesburg] enables us to manage projects and take care of customers even more quickly and reliably as well as support colleagues working in our other African offices.”

Solar capacity

The solar PV firm cited the International Energy Agency, which predicts that by 2040 the total renewable energy capacity in Africa will reach 173GW of which (20%) will be generated by solar energy.

Prashant Mathur, President International Sales of Vikram Solar, adds:  “The Vikram Group has been exporting to Africa for the last 30 years. The new office of Vikram Solar is a further indication of our commitment to this continent.

“Africa has a high potential for using renewable energy economically and especially stands to benefit from the distributed generation of energy.

He concluded: “Our many years of experience in energy projects in India, where, like Africa, electricity needs to be reliably supplied in hot temperatures is an additional asset that we are able to put to good use for our customers here as well.”

S.African firms to capitalise on solar

In June, South African-based agribusiness BKB announced the installation of a ZAR8 million ($667,244) roof-mounted solar photovoltaic energy harvesting system that will provide clean energy and reduce the carbon footprint of the South African wool and mohair industry.

Wool and mohair industry

The South African wool and mohair industry exports two thirds of the country’s wool clip and more than 35% of the country’s mohair clip, according to BKB.

The solar system which will cover a surface area of 3,400m2, will generate solar power for harvesting the wool and then introduce solar energy into its handling and shipping facility in Port Elizabeth.

The solar photovoltaic systems are being installed on the roofs of the agribusinesses warehouse buildings, which house classing, handling and pressing facilities. The pitched roof sections are being retrofitted with an estimated 4,680 solar photovoltaic panels, each with a 100W generation capacity.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.