Suntech strengthens South Africa presence with new storage warehouse

China’s Wuxi Suntech Power Co. has announced that it has established a storage warehouse in the South African city of Cape Town as part of the company’s growth strategy into the burgeoning sub-Saharan African solar market.

Initially capable of storing 500 kW of solar modules, the facility will be expanded to 1 MW later this year, and follows on from Suntech establishing a full-time presence in South Africa in 2014.

The module manufacturer recently supplied 100 MW of its high-efficiency PV modules to two South African PV projects selected under the first bidding round of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP).

This deal forms just a small portion of the company’s plans for this growing market, while a permanent presence at the tip of the continent eases Suntech’s shipping strategy to other African countries.

"The opening of a local warehouse in Cape Town will allow Suntech to increase its sales capacity in South Africa, and in the South African Development Community, which serves as a free trade zone," said Suntech’s regional director to Africa and South Asia markets, Joey Zheng. "We are also eliminating the effort involved in the PV modules shipping and importation procedure, which will help our customers to better plan their project schedules."

Zheng added that the warehouse will serve the company’s relationship with developers planning large-scale PV projects in South Africa, enabling 24-hour delivering times rather than the average wait of 40 days developers had to contend with when panels were shipped in from China.

Wuxi Suntech president Victor Xiong added that, under the ownership of Shunfeng Clean Energy – which acquired Suntech in 2014 – the company is now a prominent member of the Tier-1 solar company club, which will mean even more ambitious expansion projects in the near future.

"I am confident that our partners and customers will see how our clean energy ecosystem brings value to solar energy development, which is especially relevant in supporting the growing electricity needs in South Africa and in the wider region," said Xiong.