Electricity minister expects to seal deal with China for solar panels

  • Bloomberg reports that South Africa’s electricity minister said he expects to seal a deal with the Chinese government next week that will help solar-power installers in the African nation secure access to panels for projects needed to tackle its energy crisis.

The matter will be discussed on the sidelines of a summit of leaders from the BRICS group of leading emerging-market powers that starts Aug. 22 in Johannesburg, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at their swanky new studios in Johannesburg yesterday.

“Myself and my peer from China will be concluding those agreements and the timelines are really that we should be able to get significant investment into the ground in the next six months,” he said.

Ramokgopa travelled to China in June to meet six of the nation’s biggest solar equipment manufacturers in a bid to smooth access to panels and counter persistent blackouts.

The minister said he is confident the outages, known locally as load shedding, will end and predicted that an additional 4 700MW of power would be added to the grid in the next few months.

South Africa has been seeing anecdotal accounts of solar panel shortages in the country, largely contained to residential and small commercial installations, according to the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia). The temporary shortage is as a result of a surge in demand because the country is in a massive energy crisis where households and business’s face up to 10 hours of blackouts daily.

Ramakgopa is known for his media spin with a national election taking place next year. Lately, it has become increasingly difficult to take him seriously. Read more

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Partial content source: Bloomberg

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