Unbeknownst to many South Africans, energy has always been a utility with little choice. As highlighted by Bloomberg, new monopoly ending government regulations mean that citizens across the country have the choice to take themselves off the major energy suppliers and onto new, cheaper, and more effective suppliers.
The energy source that stands to gain the most is, of course, solar.
Effectiveness and incentives
South Africa experiences sunlight for over 3000 hours every year, with 75% of those hours sunny, according to ClimateTemps.com.
This is a superb environment for solar energy, and what’s more, there are incentives across the country to make solar panel savings when looking at residential energy generation.
Business Insider have highlighted the rush of banks and some governmental agencies to provide heavily subsidized loans – sometimes using 28% of their own capital as funding – to homeowners looking to make the jump. The trickle effect that thousands of homes moving to solar has is important in changing the energy sourcing statistics.
Of course, South Africa already has huge solar power capacity. The De Aar plant located in Central South Africa already produces 175MW, exceeding the wattage of any plant within Africa or the Middle East, according to Environment.za.
This huge capacity is yet to reach full usage, but as the country looks to implement more ambitious carbon targets and climate change legislation, expect to see solar power being used more extensively.
On top of the current mega-capacity plants are newly installed developments. One of these plants, the Aggeneys Solar Energy Facility, is located just 55km outside of Johannesburg, and is already providing a combined 132MW of energy along with the Konkoosies II plant.
With such a direct provision of electricity into the city, it’s likely that plants like this one will be a major supplier of energy to the city over the next few years, likely providing much of the city’s power during daylight hours.
Plants like Konkoosies II, further afield, will have a lessened impact, but still provide clean energy to the wider country.
Solar is the future of South Africa. With choice back on the board for millions of urban residents, solar power can find itself powering the entire nation.
Already a regional leader in production and capacity of renewable energy hours, new plants and operations will only see this trend continue.