|South Africa on track for more utility-scale solar power plants
A few years ago, solar panels were a rare sight in South Africa. They were largely limited to a few rooftops within affluent neighbourhoods. This is rapidly changing though, thanks to three significant factors: the global push towards renewable energy, a steady drop in solar panel prices due to technological advances, and a local landscape with a highly strained electricity supply.
Following the lead from other countries, South Africa has committed to an energy generation infrastructure development plan for 2010 to 2030. The plan aims to achieve 9 600 MW of solar power capacity by 2030, easing the strain on our ageing fleet of power stations.
Recent analysis by leading solar photovoltaic development authority, Wiki-Solar, currently ranks South Africa as 10th in the list of leading countries for the deployment of utility-scale power stations of 4 MW and up. As at the middle of 2015, South Africa had 26 completed utility-scale solar plants with a cumulative capacity of 1 013 MW.
The future of renewable energy in South Africa looks bright, as a number of large scale solar power projects are expected to be completed. Solar power South Africa offers great potential, allowing local and foreign investors to play an important role in developing and constructing large scale solar parks that can feed clean energy into the national grid.
According to Wiki-Solar, South Africa has a further 18 utility-scale solar plants currently under construction. Once these are completed, they will feed an extra 1 063 MW back into the grid. Besides pushing us further up the Top 10 list, these plants play an important role in making it considerably less likely that the country will suffer load shedding during 2016.
While load shedding schedules have looked promising, predictions calculate that the utility is expected to remain strong until at least April of this year, when winter returns and power consumption rises. Hopefully with swift and efficient renewable project developments, this may be avoided, and winter can remain bright.
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Besides allowing for energy reliability, investing in solar power as a long-term energy solution brings with it a list of great saving opportunities. Your electricity bills will lower as your property value rises.
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