Solar Payback Launch in South Africa
Tuesday, February 7, 2017  Printer Friendly Email this article

The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCCI) joined forces for the international ‘Solar Payback’ project. The project is aimed atincreasing the use of solar thermal energy in industrial processes.

The project launched on January 23 in South Africa.

Solar Payback is supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry funded by the International Climate Initiative. The three-year project will be implemented in South Africa, India, Mexico, and Brazil and is coordinated by the German Solar Association BSW-Solar and 11 partner organizations. 

Facilitators from Germany include research institute Fraunhofer ISE, the German Investment and Development Corporation (DEG), and communications and market research agency solrico. The project will be jointly implemented in South Africa by Johannesburg-based SANEDI and SAGCCI with its team from the Competence Centerin Sustainable Energy (SECC) in Cape Town. It was launched in October 2016 and will conclude in September 2019. 

The use of solar heat for steam production, process heating, cleaning and surface treatment in manufacturing is still a niche market in South Africa and around the world. “With Solar Payback, we aim to raise awareness about the huge market potential of solar process heat for three reasons: to reduce CO2 emissions, to save energy costs for investors and to sharpen the competitive edge of local industries,” said Jörg Mayer, Managing Director of BSW-Solar. 

“Increasing electricity prices in South Africa and discussions around the implementation of a carbon tax have highlighted the need for energy savings in the industrial and commercial sectors, but awareness for the use of solar heat is still very low. Solar Payback can play a key role in increasing the knowledge and confidence of production businesses for this promising renewable energy,” was how Dr. Karen Surridge-Talbot, Center Manager of the Renewable Energy Center of Research & Development, Renewables at SANEDI, described the market situation.Solar Payback focuses on an in-depth analysis of market barriers and drivers by drafting a solar process heat-potential study designed to be used in informing policy. 

“South Africa has twice the sunshine, but only a small fraction of installed solar thermal capacity compared to other countries,” emphasized Markus Wolf, Project Manager at SECC of SAGCCI. “Our aim in Solar Payback is to raise awareness among potential client groups, for example from the beverage, textile or automotive industry, as well as among financial institutions.” To increase the trust in solar process heat technology, Solar Payback supports the construction of a best practice plant. 

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