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PV growth in South Africa hinges on the success of phase I projects


The key hurdles that developers are facing to complete plants on time and on budget were revealed in a recent PV Insider webinar that focused on the project development challenges in South Africa

Since the South African government launched the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in 2010 local and international developers have shown a keen interest in this region. Since December 2011 632MW of PV has been awarded in South Africa, as well as $1.5 billion of investment from local and international financiers.

In phase I of the IRP the government received 53 bids across different renewable technologies, and it was confirmed in March this year that this figure had increased to 79 tenders, representing 3,233 MW of projects in Phase II. 18 projects are currently under development in South Africa, but with this number predicted to double by August developers are already facing substantial roadblocks when moving projects forward.

On 25th April PV Insider held a complimentary webinar to analyse the key challenges faced when developing projects in South Africa, as well as the potential for future growth in this emerging solar market. During the session Davin Chown of SAPVIA, Linda Thompson, Head of Solar Developments at Mainstream Renewable Power and Conrad Hefer from Cresco Project Finance examined these critical topics and shared their experiences in this region.

Examining the two projects currently under development by Mainstream Renewable Power, Linda Thompson recognized that land acquisition, grid capacity and water availability has presented developers with many hurdles. Linda went on to explain that the market has become over competitive in terms of players, that has led to “further competition for access to land and to the grid in phase II”, and that this “could also make projects fall over”.

Davin Chown of SAPVIA went on to explain that one of the challenges from an industry perspective is the aggressive nature of the IRP. Chown questioned whether “South Africa is able to raise enough capital to support the scaling up of the renewable programme significantly, to meet the IRP targets in years to come”.

The proceedings of the webinar can be viewed in full at no cost, by following the link below:

http://www.pv-insider.com/southafrica/content3.php

This exclusive webinar has been organized in conjunction with the PV Project Development Summit South Africa 2012 taking place on 3-4 September in Johannesburg.



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