March 2014: Solar Capital, a prominent solar energy producer in South Africa, has been nominated in the prestigious ‘The European Magazine’s 2014 Excellence Awards’ as Solar Company of the Year in Africa. The second annual Excellence Awards, which is set to take place in May this year, honours companies around the world that have been successful in facing global business challenges in their respective fields.
Paschal Phelan, President of Solar Capital, says that the company is honoured that their hard work in developing the solar energy market in South Africa has been recognised on an international level. “Now more than ever, South Africa needs to look at alternative solutions to our country’s major energy deficit. Investments in large-scale solar power projects will transform the African continent, where rising populations and six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies have resulted in ever growing energy deficits.”
Phelan says that following Eskom’s announcement that load shedding will continue throughout winter, a greater focus on renewable energy sources is essential to bolstering the country’s pressurised energy grid. The Department of Energy (DoE) has realised that in order to keep up with an ever growing demand for electricity, more needs to be done to develop alternative energy sources.
“The DoE’s plan, with the backing of the South African National Treasury, to develop an 18GW renewable energy programme over the next 20 years is well on its way to meeting this need,” he adds. “This commitment was further supported with the announcement of an additional R45 billion for the development of renewable energy sources, which was made by the National Treasury in the recent Budget Speech.”
Phelan says that in an effort to find alternative energy solutions to meet the growing demand in South Africa the company has worked closely with the DoE on the first phase of the installation of what will become the largest solar farm in the Southern Hemisphere.
The first phase of the Solar Capital De Aar Northern Cape project will generate enough electricity to power approximately 35 000 South African homes every year, with the intention of delivering the first 75MW of solar energy generated electricity into Eskom’s power grid. The company’s 94.5MW first phase project is the largest solar farm in South Africa and with the completion of the second phase in 2016, totaling a combined 200MW.
“Our aim is to put South Africa on its way to achieving the production of 3,725MW of renewable energy envisaged for 2030 by the Independent Resources Procurement Programme. With the strong focus on developing alternative energy solutions, we are fast becoming a serious contender within global renewable energy arena,” adds Phelan.
Solar Capital was also recognised as the Best Renewable Energy Company in Africa at the ‘The New Economy Sustainable Energy Awards 2013, which was held in December last year. Other winners at the awards included Eskom as the Best Energy Group in Africa.