Include the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia), the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea), the South African Solar Thermal Industry Association (Sastela) and the Sustainable Energy Society.
Four of South Africa’s leading renewable energy associations plan to launch an umbrella body, provisionally named the South African Renewable Energy Council, to act as a single voice for the industry, which is believed to be on the verge of a significant expansion phase.
The organisation’s founding members will include the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia), the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea), the South African Solar Thermal Industry Association (Sastela) and the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (Sessa). But it is envisioned that other partners will be included at a later stage.
In fact, Sawea CEO Johan van den Berg reports that a variety of stakeholders could be included in future, noting that a number of nongovernmental organisations have considerable expertise in renewable energy.
“There are also other renewable technologies that have industry bodies, or the beginnings thereof. We will strive to be as inclusive as possible. The idea is not to create an overarching industry body but rather to create an overarching renewable energy custodian,” Van den Berg explains.
Sastela chairperson Pancho Ndebele argues that, by creating a united voice, there should be greater coordination, which should help ensure the commitments made under the recently signed ‘Green Economy Accord’ are implemented.
The accord, which was signed by government, business and labour in November, aims to build local manufacturing capacity and foster the creation of ‘green jobs’ around South Africa’s plan to deploy up to 17 800 MW of renewables capacity by 2030.
Sessa secretary Jason Schaffler says the accord also reaffirmed government stated ambition of rolling out a million solar geysers by 2014 and the new body will seek to align the policy to deploy large-scale grid-connected solutions with the delivery of a large volume and low-capital renewables solutions, which Sessa members implement.
Sapvia chairperson Chris Haw adds that the accord’s inclusion of a rooftop solar photovoltaic solar energy programme will also dovetail with the current moves to implement large, grid-connected PV plants.
“Through the Renewable Energy Council . . . we could engage government swiftly and in a unified, coordinated fashion. The regulatory framework is developing rapidly at present and we need a custodian for the industry,” Haw adds.