n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Investigation of the solar energy production and contribution in South Africa : research note

Volume 4, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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Energy utilisation in South Africa is by far characterised by high dependence on cheap and abundance available coal. Coal utilisation for energy production makes South Africa to be the largest emitter of CO in Africa. Renewable energy, such as solar energy technologies has the potential to reduce the emission of trace gases to the atmosphere. South Africa has the best solar resources in the world, average daily solar radiation varies between 4.5 and 7 KWh/m2. The country has the potential of generating up to 24 000 MW of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) by 2030. The unfortunate situation is that there are no Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) plants in South Africa. Such gaps jeopardise efforts to reduce emission of trace gases to the atmosphere. The Conference of the Parties (COP17) need to address infrastructural, regulatory framework, skills and funding impediments on climate change mitigation efforts.

This study seeks to establish the production, contribution and growth impediments of solar energy technologies in South Africa, mainly focusing on CSP and solar PV. We also critically review policy challenges with regard to solar energy production in South Africa. Our findings shows that the production of solar energy technologies is mainly hampered by weak institutional arrangement, strict regulatory framework, lack of skills, policy uncertainty and gaps as well as economic climate. Current contribution of solar energy technologies to energy security and climate mitigation effort is at this point negligible due to lack of CSP and PV plants. The distribution of solar energy across the country is spread in accordance with economic hub compared to solar energy potential. Areas around North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga have good solar potential but the application is very minimal.

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