Country Info

South Africa

← Back to country list

A few months back, my Linkedin feed was inundated with posts celebrating the remarkable growth of South Africa’s Solar Photovoltaic (PV) sector signalled by a significant surge in solar panel imports.
South Africa’s fossil fuel subsidies tripled between FY 2018 and FY 2023, from ZAR 39 billion (USD 2.9 billion) in FY 2018 to ZAR 118 billion (USD 7.5 billion) in FY 2023. The largest share of fossil fuel subsidies in South Africa in FY 2023 went to oil and gas consumption, carbon tax exemptions, and the electricity sector.
With South Africa currently grappling with rolling blackouts, numerous municipalities are offering off-grid energy to impoverished households – with solar energy emerging as the dominant choice. Municipalities have provided alternative sources of energy to a total of 193,290 low-income households that are not connected to the grid.
Stats SA tracks the municipal rollout of alternative sources of energy in its annual Non-financial census of municipalities statistical report. The agency covered the 2017 data in a summary article published in 2018. The most recent release provides a 2022 update for data on solar, fire gel and paraffin.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) adopted the Solar Exclusion Norm, which exempts certain solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities from obtaining environmental authorization. This exemption applies to projects in areas deemed to have low or medium environmental sensitivity.
A new innovation network is being launched in South Africa. According to Innovate UK, the UK government’s innovation agency, its aim is to connect start-ups developing ideas for intelligent energy management in the face of the climate emergency.
South African households who are not interested in owning a solar system but want to have power during load-shedding and potentially save on their electricity bills can consider a rental product. This table explains some of the differences in the contracts of three major solar rental companies.
The expansion of solar energy infrastructure presents a pressing dilemma, how to meet the growing energy demand while safeguarding fragile ecosystems and biodiversity. The clash between conservation imperatives and clean energy ambitions underscores the complex challenges facing environmental stewardship in the modern era.

Latest Documents