The SA Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) has welcomed this week’s government update on plans to implement the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP2019) which will contribute to the country’s Covid-19 economic recovery package.

This comes hot on the heels of warnings by Eskom of possible power disruptions due to power-station breakdowns.

“Eskom appeals to the public to reduce electricity consumption as the generation system is severely constrained. We have unexpectedly lost four large units to unplanned breakdowns, while the return to service of another two generation units have been delayed,” the utility said in a statement on Tuesday.

SAPVIA says the rumored return of load-shedding confirms need for implementation of IRP2019 as part of COVID19 response.

“The IRP’s biggest opportunity is in low cost electricity which would create additional operational and construction jobs and only consistency will open the prospect for domestic manufacturing of renewable components. Embedded solar energy can also contribute to ensuring energy security in the short and medium term which is now even more critical if we go into winter and there is a possible return of load-shedding,” says SAPVIA COO Niveshen Govender.

The solar industry has a policy target to generate 6GW of energy by 2030 and will contribute to the procurement of 2000MW of distributed energy by 2024.

The Head of the IPPO confirmed that this procurement will shortly commence.

“Implementation of the IRP is a valuable tool to kick-start our economic response to the pandemic, and can go a long way to giving our country the stability and certainty of a reliable power source. Our economy and our future simply cannot afford the uncertainty that comes with the specter of possibly again going through load-shedding,” says Govender.

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