Canadian Solar, Jinko, First Solar, SMA and more lay out their vision for solar development in Africa

On the 9th-10th September representatives from all of the key stakeholders in the African PV market set out their vision for solar development across the region in a series of key presentations at PV Project Development Africa 2014.

The summit was designed to set out a roadmap for solar development in Africa, both within the government driven REIPPPP program in South Africa and for private distributed PV projects across Africa.

The conference began with an impassioned presentation from Wido Schnabel of Canadian Solar and was followed by a series of insightful presentations including Arnold Rix of Gestamp Solar and Daniel Goldstuck of Aurora Power Solutions in discussions moderated by Simon Haw, Director at Aurora Power Solutions. Important themes included getting the most from the REIPPPP by unlocking the keys to site selection and what the future of solar in South could look like.

Key financiers including Nic Tucker from Investec, Sakkie Leimecke from Nedbank and advisors Rob Futter from Cresco Project Finance and Coenraad Krige Managing Director at Eaglestone Capital Advisory discussed the fine margins and risks involved in reaching financial close in an intense panel discussion moderated by Kasief Isaacs of PwC.

The afternoon reached a peak as a detailed Mott MacDonald presentation was followed by a key Eskom presentation which prompted much audience discussion about how a sustainable grid could be built to deal with renewable energy generation.

The discussion then moved onto small scale distributed generation and the day opened with a hugely insightful presentation by Coenraad Pretorious of Anglo American about their reasons for adopting solar. He was joined on the panel by the CSIR and Frank Spencer of First Solar. The discussion was followed by presentations on the market for private PPA’s of solar and presentations from market leaders Avelar Energy and Amatola Greenpower prompted a swathe of audience questions.

The afternoon saw some of the global PV heavyweights join the discussion with presentations from Elecnor, SMA and Jinko Solar all speaking about how they have contributed to solar production in Africa in assisting developers meet their Local Content Requirements.

The conference was rounded off with a discussion of the small scale financing available for solar PV with in depth presentations from Andy Tant of Cresco Project Finance and Jonathan Berman, Managing Director at Fieldstone. Highlighting the key trends and challenges who go with funding small scale projects.

The event confirmed South Africa as one of the world’s leading solar markets, but has also surfaced the possibility that is will be the centre where solar development across sub-Saharan can take off.


Access to the full presentations and event recordings are available by emailing