Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said an additional $228 million will be invested by the developers of photovoltaics, wind and CSP in socio-economic developments for the period the projects will be implemented under the countrys Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).
"The government is very committed to women empowerment and I am pleased to announce that among others, on the business side these bidders are committing approximately R1 billion rand ($114 million) to be spent on women vendors," she said.
"I will remain vigilant about the level of women participation in this programme and I trust that it will progressively improve over the next bidding windows," Peters added, warning that the contract could be terminated if this condition, and others the bidders committed themselves to comply with, are not met.
The Department of Energy predicts that photovoltaics will be the largest generator of jobs among renewable energy technologies, with the industry creating close to 10,000 construction jobs and 460 in operations in South Africa.
"In total, these bidders will spend approximately R12 billion ($1.4 billion) over the duration of the Implementation Agreements on South African contractors, including empowered enterprises, small and women-owned businesses," added Peters.
The contracts signed on Monday were the first under REIPP and pave way for the implementation of 631.53 MW of photovoltaic projects. Overall, 1.4 GW of renewable energy contracts were signed.
Although the 28 approved bidders were announced last December and financial close was slated for last June, the deadline was pushed back due to what Peters described as governmental bureaucracy.
Edited by Becky Beetz.