JOHANNESBURG / ROTTERDAM – Not nuclear or coal, but the sun could power up the whole of South Africa. After the Sahara and some parts of Australia, The Rainbow Nation has the most stable and reliable solar radiation output in the world and is blessed with ample space and plenty of solar hours.
“We think South Africa’s solar power potential is enormous. Apart from a superb radiation output, the country is developing at a relatively fast pace, and has ample space,” explains Edwin Koot, CEO of Solarplaza.
This is an international platform for solar industry stakeholders and renown for its solar conferences.
“We think that South Africa could generate all of its electricity from the sun,” he adds. “That is how big the resource is.”
2500 sun hours per year
Dick Berlijn, managing director of Pretoria-based solar electricity development firm Subsolar Energy, confirms Koot’s statements with regards to South Africa’s solar situation.
“The variability of South Africa’s annual solar radiation is around 3%. That means that in a good day, solar radiation here is 100% with 97% in bad years. Together with the fact that some areas get in excess of 2500 sun hours per year, it makes for a great source with a low variability. These conditions are extraordinary,” he notes.
This, in combination with the persistent energy shortage and the massive carbon footprint investing in solar energy, can be very lucrative. “And let’s not forget the declining prices of solar energy,” Koot notes.
“Over the past five year, the prices have come down by 70%. We on the other hand will never know what happens to the price of coal in the future. When coal goes up, this will translate into the electricity price. That is why investing in solar, especially in South Africa, makes a lot of sense.”
Learn about our Solar Future
Both Koot and Berlijn will be speaking at Solarplaza’s Solar Future South Africa conference, which will take place on 25 January 2012 in the Sandton Convention Centre. It is the first time SolarPlaza is organising a solar energy conference in Africa.
The event will address a variety of issues related to specifically the solar industry in South Africa, from financing solar projects, Feed-in Tariffs, and the business opportunities attached to solar energy to the value of solar energy to the economy.
Among the speakers are Karen Breytenbach (Senior Project Advisor within National Treasury’s Public Private Partnership Unit), Omar Vajeth (Head of the Power and Energy division at ABSA Capital), Velaphi Msimang (Chief Director of the Hydrogen and Energy sub-programme at the Department of Science and Technology), and Ayanda Nakedi (Senior General Manager at Eskom Renewables).
Read more about this event here.
Check out Solar Future’s website.