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With doom and gloom dominating conversations on the energy crisis, representatives from local solar energy companies, climate finance platforms and the government gathered to discuss how this crisis could be used to harness South Africa’s potential to become one of the biggest producers of energy in the world.
The $1.5 million, 800m2 plant is manufacturing solar panels for use with advanced biomass stoves, as well as for the regional African market and overseas exports. The plant has a maximum capacity of 15 MW per annum, has created 53 jobs and will operate 24 hours a day, five days a week.
It is a sad situation. Years ago, when you saw a group of men gathered excitedly around a shared cell phone, the likelihood was they were up to no good. Today there is a great chance that they are comparing electricity consumption and production based on the information from their solar app.
Solar powered water heaters on rooftops above shacks in the Alexandra township in Johannesburg, South Africa. Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images
South Africans have been battered by power shortages for several years. These have worsened to the point that towards the end of 2022 the country’s electricity utility, Eskom, had only half of its power generation capacity operational.
The ‘Energy Skills Roadmap’ illustrates that for the broader energy sector to cope with future uncertainty and rapid change, a multipronged approach that includes ongoing engagement and more systematic skills anticipation processes that bring together key stakeholders – both in demand and supply – will be needed.
One of the biggest casualties of more than a decade of severe power outages has been the country’s water processing and distribution networks. The most recent, and escalated, blackouts have led to water utilities in parts of the country issuing warnings about damage to water supply infrastructure and operations.
Standard Bank’s home efficiency platform has worked with Riskscape, a geospatial actuarial solutions provider, to develop a free-to-use, online Solar Score for South African homeowners which takes individual property conditions into account in determining solar power feasibility.
According a statement of the Health Minister, the Department of Health is on the right track with efforts to ensure the priority hospitals are excluded from load shedding as part of plans to minimise the disruptions on the provision of essential health services during power outages.
Remote communities without proper infrastructure spend hours gathering water from rivers, which are sometimes contaminated. Now, a couple of villages and schools in the province’s OR Tambo District have a new way of getting drinking water. Hyrdropanels that are powered by the sun to extract water from humid ambient air are being installed.

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