South Africa’s pipeline of unsubsidized PV projects hits 9 GW


South Africa's National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) has revealed that there are currently around 9 GW of unsubsidized distributed-generation solar projects spread across more than 100 sites now under development.

This category includes all utility-scale PV plants that are being planned outside of the country's auction scheme, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). They all have capacities of less than 100 MW.

The South African authorities have raised the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1 MW to 100 MW in August 2021.

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“The first of these large-scale projects are expected to connect to the grid by the end of this year,” NECOM said in a six-month progress update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan. It said it also plans to hold a tender for utility- scale storage. “The RFP for battery storage has been finalised and will be released to the market shortly.”

South Africa wants to reduce energy dependence on its state-owned utility, Eskom. The troubled company, which is unable to meet national power demand due to financial and operational issues, recently began considering renewables for its plant portfolio.

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