SunEdison a major global manufacturer of solar energy technology has just entered the South African market with two substantial projects in the country. The company announced that it will create a 28MW solar plant in Limpopo’s Blouberg region, costing R1.2bn, and a further R1.4bn plant in Witkop, Polokwane, which will have an output of 30MW.

SunEdison’s projects form part of the South African government’s Independent Power Procurement Programme (IPPP) for renewable energy. And these new solar plants will help to supplement the power hungry commercial, industrial and mining industries in those regions.

It is anticipated that SunEdison’s new plants will start producing power for Eskom by next year. The overall IPPP programme aims to produce 3,725 MW of energy from renewable sources by 2016.

“We are going to use South Africa as our headquarters for sub-Saharan Africa (and) we see South Africa as a beautiful market for commercial, industrial and mining customers,” Pashupathy Gopalan, MD of SunEdison for Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, told the media this week.

This substantial direct investment in South Africa is a major vote of confidence on the mid to long-term stability of the country and will help to put power production on a more sustainable footing.

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