Information from SAPVIA
The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), the industry body which represents solar PV in South Africa, has welcomed Italian-based firm Enertronica Santerno’s decision to expand is manufacturing activities in South Africa.
The Italian firm, which has been an active player in South Africa over the past ten years, will invest R17-million to enhance its capability of manufacturing inverters for solar photovoltaic (PV) applications, including storage solutions, with a maximum initial production capacity of more than 500 MW per year, gradually ramping up to higher capacity targets.
The inverters will achieve a designated local content value higher than 40%, thereby exceeding the minimum requirements for public procurement. Implementation plans are already in place and will be finalised within the next five months.
Welcoming the news, Niveshen Govender, SAPVIA’s chief operating officer, said, “This significant investment shows the massive potential for the solar PV market here in South Africa. The fact that we are attracting international investors shows the viability of our renewable energy sector both in terms of financial return as well as the capability of our workforce to deliver best-in-class manufacturing.
“Post Covid, we will require foreign and local investment to drive the economic recovery and transform our energy infrastructure to meet current and future requirements. This investment will also contribute to South Africa realising the full, transformational potential of its solar PV market.
“Localisation, upskilling and a focus on ensuring true South African participation across the value chain is vital if we are all to benefit from the full rewards of the REIPPPP.”
Luigi Guerra, Enertronica Santerno’s country manager said, “The Group has already successfully implemented manufacturing activities in South Africa in various sectors associated with renewable energy. In 2013, a production plant was built (and then later dismantled) for the manufacturing of supporting structures for around 400 MW of panels PV panels.
“Subsequently, inverter-based power stations with a total capacity of around 600 MW were built with a 58% local content, making Enertronica Santerno one of the leading local producers in South Africa in its own market sector.”
Govender emphasised that the South African government must continue to act in the interest of South Africans, saying that the industry is waiting for confirmation from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, and the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition that legislation will be implemented to ensure that projects are able to meet the localisation requirements for Bid Window 5 of the REIPPPP.
“We need certainty, sustained procurement, and a consistent approach to developing the local manufacturing market segment,” he said.
Govender stressed that SAPVIA will continue to actively engage with its members to ensure that they proactively attract additional investment, both foreign and local, to drive local manufacturing capabilities. In this way, he said, the country will fully realise the capacity requirements of the South African market, both currently and for future procurement rounds. This, so as to enable the country to realise the full economic and industrialisation potential of the uptake of renewable energy.
“Following the extended pause in government procurement of clean, affordable renewable energy generation infrastructure, through the REIPPPP, we are starting to see confidence growing from the industry which now feels ready to invest in local manufacturing.
“After a period of decline, where investors were hesitant to move forward with local manufacturing, due to the lack of certainty from government, we are now seeing the green shoots of a South African renewable energy manufacturing sector. With this confidence, we hope to see additional investment, local job creation and upskilling of local workers.
“We cannot afford to let this opportunity pass and we look forward to working with government to deliver not only our energy needs, through sustained and consistent procurement of renewable energy, but also job creation and sustainable employment through a commitment to localisation.
“SAPVIA welcomes this positive investment from Enertronica Santerno and looks forward to working with the company and supporting its, and South Africa’s, future successes in the local market,” Govender said.
Contact Kim Thomas, SAPVIA, Tel 021 200-5856, firstname.lastname@example.org