South Africa Gears up for More Solar Power Investment

The department of energy has said that the country has a high level of renewable energy potential and presently has in place a target of 10,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy.

The energy minister is committed to ensuring that 3,725 megawatts (MW) is generated from renewable energy sources so as to ensure the continued non-stop supply of electricity.

The department on its website says that the independent power producer procurement programme (IPP) has been designed so as to contribute towards the targeted 3,725 megawatts and towards socio-economic and environmentally sustainable growth, and to start and stimulate the renewable industry in South Africa.

An energy expert says current plans of intensifying on renewable energy are being stalled by seed funding that is being held back in the energy space. Gavin Maxwell, chairman of Coolfin Partnership Ireland told CNBC Africa that some geographies were classified more risky than others which was ultimately affecting funding. "South Africa is leading the way with many renewable energy projects together with Kenya which is also doing a good job with renewables," Maxwell noted.

Maxwell said that building relations was critical to ensuring energy supply in the country. "I think forging relationship is about getting the ability to seed more projects and getting more projects off the ground more quickly especially for new developers and independent power production companies," he said.

He added that the key question was in creating renewable energy options that were sustainable in the long term.

Renewable energy is defined as energy derived from resources which are naturally replaced on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. About 16 per cent of global final energy consumption presently comes from renewable properties, with 10 per cent of all energy from traditional biomass, mainly used for heating, and 3.4 per cent from hydroelectricity.