The facility, located across 3,400 square meters of land at AEGs existing manufacturing plant, which produces the companys Protect PV 5000 inverter, has enough capacity to manufacture up to 200 MW of its new Protect PV630 inverters, annually. It will also make electrical distribution boxes.
AEG Power Solutions CEO, Horst Kayser said the company will "use the facility to grow South Africas role in this important industry sector across the continent." Back in May, AEG announced that while South Africa is the primary market for the companys new inverters, it will also use the country as a base to enter other African markets.
South Africa Energy Minister, Dipuo Peters, who commissioned the new manufacturing facility last Friday, September 21, said the AEG Power Solutions inverter line in Milnerton, Western Cape region, ties in "very well with governments policy commitment on localization". "The inauguration of this facility sends a clear message that the private sector is starting to respond to our [renewable energy] policy imperatives," she said.
A lack of solar manufacturing capacities in South Africa forced the department to include local content as a compulsory prerequisite in countrys Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPP), to be implemented between 2012 to 2030, continued Peters. Under the 20 year program, photovoltaics is expected to generate 8.4 GW of energy.
"Lack of local manufacturers was a major barrier to many bidders and therefore the initiative [inverter plant] will contribute significantly in addressing this gap, as it creates an excellent example and a case study for those who may want to follow suit," said Peters.
During the second bidding window last May, South Africa awarded contracts for the development of 417 MW of photovoltaic projects by 2016.