The South African Department of Energy (DoE) has opened competitive solicitation process for renewable energy development, including 200 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) and 1.45 GW of solar photovoltaics (PV).

The program will also solicit 100 MW from projects 1-5 MW in size, which can be PV, wind, biomass or biogas. It will not use the renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) published by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in 2009.

"The abandonment of the Refit has raised anxiety levels among potential developers, which warned that the absence of a predetermined tariff would raise the risks associated with the roll-out of renewables projects in South Africa," stated the South African Alternative Energy Association.

"But the DoE and the National Treasury had raised their own concerns that the Refit might not be legally compliant with government procurement rules. They had also indicated that they did not want to repeat some of the financial errors associate with Refit programmes in other countries."

First deadline of August 31st, 2011

On August 1st, 2011, the DoE issued the first request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy projects to meet its goal of 3.72 GW of electricity generation from renewables.

In order to qualify for this first of five rounds, renewable energy developers must notify the DoE of their intent to bid by August 31st, 2011, and submit bids by November 25th, 2011.

Bids ceiling of USD 0.397/kWh

Bids will be evaluated on both price and economic development criteria, with price weighted at 70%. Bids for PV or CSP will need to meet a price cap of USD 0.397/kWh, with other price ceilings for other technologies.  Bidders will also be required to post a bid guarantee of USD 14,000/MW.

Successful bidders will enter into an implementation agreement with the DoE and a power purchase agreement (PPA).