SMA to start South African inverter production by Q1 2014

German inverter manufacturer SMA Solar Technology has told pv magazine its planned inverter production facility in South Africa is set to be operational by March 2014.

The Niestetal-based company announced at the end of May it would be expanding operations in the South African market and those plans include a production facility for the Sunny Central inverters used in the 75 MW Kalkbult project and which will be supplied to two more projects which were announced today.

The facility, which will be near Johannesburg and will cost SMA a single-digit million euro figure, will be operational in time to supply clients under phase three of the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP).

"The production facility is currently in the planning phase," said SMA spokesman Susanne Henkel. "Production will start soon, it will be in place in time to fulfil our clients’ local content requirements under phase 3 of the REIPPP. The production capacity and employment opportunities will be flexible according to demand."

SMA announced today it will be supplying 125 of its Sunny Central CP XT inverters to photovoltaic projects in Dreunberg, Eastern Cape province and Linde, in Northern Cape, both of which are being developed by Norwegian company Scatec Solar.

Scatec is developing the Kalkbult project which will be complete in the second half of the year and will incorporate 84 Sunny Central inverters.

The Dreunberg project is slated to be operational by June 2014 with Linde to follow and be online by the end of the year.

The new projects are being developed under the second round of the REIPPP and will sell energy to the national utility ESKOM.