The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) thoroughly endorses this week's announcement by the President to raise the licensing threshold for embedded generation plants to 100 MW.
Welcoming the news, SAPVIA considered this a great day for South Africa. As we work to recover from Covid-19, the Association felt that this increase will be viewed as a watershed moment for industry in South Africa. By developing policy to enable further increases in the uptake of embedded generation, the Solar PV industry will be better able to increase energy accessibility, energy availability and energy security which the economy so desperately needs.
In response to the announcement, Niveshen Govender, (COO of SAPVIA) said, “The signal from government is a strong one: that we must work together to overcome the energy crisis we find ourselves in.
“Being a strong proponent and long-time advocate for this, SAPVIA is delighted that the President has considered, reflected and acted on the advice from various sectors to raise the licensing threshold and has seen fit to do this with appropriate haste during a time of crisis.
"This move will help us deliver much needed clean electricity, rapidly, to businesses and individuals across the country while creating opportunities for sectors such as agriculture, mining, hospitality and commercial properties to generate their own electricity and relieve the pressure on Eskom.
“SAPVIA continues to support a just energy transition that leverages the abundant natural resources we have here in South Africa, with a specific focus on solar PV due to the prevalence of solar as well as the fact that it represents the least-cost, quickest-to-build, quickest-to-commission option of all the renewable energy technologies.
"We must work together to deliver a just energy transition that is fundamental to South Africa’s future economic and social development. The solar PV sector, as our Solar PV jobs study demonstrated, carries significant job creation opportunities for South Africans, across its wide value chain, and this increased licensing threshold will unlock more job creation opportunities within the sector.
“This announcement will pave the way to the development of a more robust commercial and industrial market segment, with assumed growth of 500 MW per year from private distributed solar PV generation. The potential impact here could be game-changing for the economy with local participation at a global standard, creating jobs and potentially seeing the creation of more, successful, locally-owned SMEs.
“Employing this directive from the President will be seen by the updated ERA Schedule II gazette under the leadership of Minister Mantashe. The processes to implement must be carefully considered from a central energy planning, system operator and management point of view.
“It will be critical, for the full realisation of the sector’s potential, for the DMRE to ensure clarity on the terms of the exemption as these should also include projects that are selling or trading electricity back to the grid, as has been widely called for by industry. For this increase to have the impact we desire of increasing capacity and ameliorating load shedding. We need to work in partnership with the private sector to fully capitalise on the opportunity this threshold increase presents us with.
“We would urge NERSA, Eskom and municipalities to move with the same haste as the President and Minister Mantashe have to ensure that distributed generation supply is implemented smoothly.
“SAPVIA will continue to support our members, wider industry and government to ensure that we take the necessary steps and plan effectively to ensure that the country’s infrastructure and distribution network can manage this change. Through the Association’s structure, programmes and initiatives we will support the industry to deliver a safe, responsible implementation of distributed generation across South Africa.”