R7.8 billion solar investment will generate 604MW

  • During the third quarter of 2023, Nersa registered 124 generation facilities.
  • Together these facilities represent a total investment of R7.8 billion.
  • However, these facilities only generate 604MW of energy.

South Africa needing additional energy to meet the needs of the country is no secret. However, addressing the energy crisis demands that additional generation capacity be built and in that regard, things are moving slowly thanks to solar investment.

On Thursday the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) announced that during the third quarter of 2023 it registered 124 generation facilities. That sounds impressive, but collectively, these facilities will generate just 605MW of energy which accounts for far less than a stage of loadshedding.

“The technological composition of the 124 registered generation facilities consists of solar
photovoltaic (PV) and solar PV with Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). During the third
quarter, solar PV generation technology was the most favoured technology, with 122 generation being facilities registered, with a total capacity of 604 MW and an investment cost of R7753 million. BESS technology has not reached maturity within the South African Electricity Supply Industry, with only two generation facilities, with a total capacity of 1MW and investment value of R4 million, being registered during the third quarter. This can be attributed to financial implications, and the culture that BESS technology is considered new within the market,” Nersa wrote in a press release.

We’re not sure why Nersa doesn’t just refer to R7 753 million as R7 billion, but the largest portion of that figure came from the North West Province. Here, the eight facilities registered in the third quarter of last year will generate 372MW of energy. The province that stoked the least investment was the Northern Cape where only five facilities were registered generating just 1MW. This may be due to a high concentration of solar plants in the Cape leading investors to explore the construction of plants elsewhere.

ProvinceNumber of generation facilitiesCapacity (MW)Investment Cost (R’m)
Western Cape3316222
Eastern Cape1418284
Free State1112233
North West83723540
Northern Cape5113
New generation facilities and their total capacity per province. Source: Nersa.

While this is undeniably good news, we are going to need many, many more generation facilities to address the energy crisis. Most importantly, Eskom needs to build the capacity needed to avoid loadshedding which has sat at Stage 4 since the early hours of Thursday morning.

Nersa says that it has registered some 1 087 generation facilities since 2018 and we hope to see more registrations granted in 2024.


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