Results From The 2012 Solar South Africa Survey

2012 Solar South Africa Survey
The 2012 Solar South Africa survey reveals opportunities and challenges in South Africa’s solar power marketplace.

Over the past two weeks, professionals active in the South African solar market have been confidentially giving their feedback on the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP.) How successful has it been? What challenges still remain? What is the confidence in the future of the program?

The results have been collated and are now available. (Read the full report.) Responses to the questions in the survey will be expanded upon by the Ministry of Energy, ESKOM, NERSA, developers, and investors at Solar South Africa 2012, which is taking place next week in Johannesburg.

Sent out to 35,000 solar professionals in the South African solar and renewable energy finance markets, the survey generated an overwhelming response rate. Green Power Conferences, the sponsor of the survey, thanks all those that took time to complete the survey and is pleased to share the responses with interested parties.

All who completed the survey felt that the REIPPP had made a positive start to the development of the industry although opinion was equally divided on whether it would achieve its goals. Half thought it was well on track whilst the other half felt there were still improvements to be made before the goals outlined will be achieved.

Since its launch, various criticisms have been directed at the REIPP programme; from achieving the right level of local content to completing the bid within a particular time frame. Somewhat unsurprisingly then, given its percentage rise to over 40% in the programme criteria, achieving local content requirements is currently seen as the most difficult part of the bid process. Similarly, given the lack of established industry and investor confidence to match, accessing finance has also proven to be a complex and difficult aspect.

Respondents were asked what they saw as the most significant challenge when considering if a project should be financed. Overwhelmingly risk evaluation stood out as the key concern. How investors perceive risk and what projects will receive funding will be a central topic at the Solar South Africa congress and will be discussed in detail as part of the post event Finance day workshop.

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