Eskom seeks modules and mounting structures for off-grid project


South African power utility Eskom has issued a tender for the supply of off-grid PV power generation systems to be tested at its Eskom Research, Testing and Development Center.

The selected supplier will provide 1,383 polycrystalline 320 W modules plus mounting structures for four off-grid PV projects. No further technical details of the projects were revealed.

Interested suppliers have until February 26 to submit offers. The tender may be linked to one issued in October for the supply of 20 three-phase, 50 kW inverters and mounting structures. The documents related to that procurement exercise also stated the devices would be used in four power plants – but gave no further details.

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With South Africa suffering regular blackouts and the government seeking radical solutions to reduce the debt mountain crippling the state-owned utility, the nation’s renewables industry has called for the electricity company to abandon costly coal generation in favor of solar and wind power.

The energy company’s mounting financial travails, and its related unwillingness to finance renewables payments, were responsible for delaying implementation of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program for large scale renewables by at least three years. Eskom is considering unbundling its energy monopoly from its other operations as it suffers frequent blackouts, in part due to maintenance issues at its aging coal-fired power plants.

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