SMA to expand operations in South Africa

The allure of South Africa continues to attract international business from leading PV players eager to expand operations in the sun-rich country.

SMA is the latest company to expand its presence in South Africa. In addition to strengthening its existing sales and service structures in the region, SMA will set up new production facilities for its Sunny Central inverters in the growing market.

The move will allow SMA to meet local content requirements and to provide the necessary capacities for the country’s expected market growth quickly, the company said. SMA’s Sunny Central inverters are specially built for use in large PV plants.

"South Africa has strategic importance for SMA," said SMA CEO Pierre-Pascal Urbon. "The country has good economic growth with a corresponding increase in energy demand."

Urbon added that photovoltaics are already a financially attractive alternative to other forms of power generation.

SME launched operations in the fast growing South African market last year when it opened its sales and service office in Centurion.

"The planned production for central inverters enables us to meet the local content requirements and thus to profit from the expected future growth of the South African market," Urbon said.

The company, which has already begun preparations to set up the new inverter facilities in the country, said production would be "just as flexible as existing SMA inverter productions in Germany and North America. In this way, the company can react quickly to changes in demand."

Last week Swiss giant ABB also announced plans to open a new inverter production line at its existing facilities in Johannesburg with a capacity of approximately 500 MW a year. It will produce 630 kW, 875 kW and 1,000 kW central inverters at the site.