Building quality across the solar PV value chain
By 2030 total installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in South Africa is expected to reach 8 400 MW. However, if we want sustainable growth, we need to ensure we develop and implement quality infrastructure for solar PV systems. This is the view of Richard Doyle, Managing Director at Juwi Renewable Energies and one of the speakers who will take the stage at the upcoming Solar Power Africa conference in Cape Town.
“Embedding a culture of quality is vital if we want to unlock the huge economic potential of solar technologies,” he says.
Doyle will be moderating a session entitled ‘Minimise risk and enable quality assurance’, which will outline the steps already taken towards developing a culture of quality excellence in the South African solar PV value chain.
He will be joined by other renewable energy experts: David Raphael, Technical Director, SOLINK and Faure van Schalkwyk, Head of Solar PV Training, SUNCybernetics, who will share best practice as well as international learnings that should shape and influence South Africa’s solar sector.
“When we talk about quality assurance, it is not just about enhancing solar technologies. It is how we improve the reliability of large solar PV systems over their productive lifetime. That is, from design to installation, through operation and maintenance and, of course, disposal of the system. By embedding quality and safety standards, we will see maximum value delivered through the life cycle of a solar plant. This will also reduce the risk for investors, policy makers and consumers,” says Doyle.
South Africa has seen a transition from utility-scale solar PV towards the residential, commercial and industrial (RCI) market sectors. The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) estimates that more than 1 200 MW of small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) solar PV projects have been installed across the RCI sectors. Based on these estimates, there are some 160 000 projects completed across South Africa.
“The growth of the industry is welcomed, but with these additional projects coming on stream, it is of national importance that we ensure quality of installation, quality of connection and the quality of the energy output.
“We need to ensure that all practical steps are taken to build a culture of quality which sees manufacturers, installers and operators adhere to best practice and ensure safety and quality across the value chain,” Doyle adds.
At Solar Power Africa, Doyle will discuss the interventions introduced to date to regulate the solar PV industry, including the PV GreenCard quality mechanism as well as the Municipal SSEG Application processes and the NERSA Registration and Licensing regime.
South Africa’s solar PV market is not as mature as some others and we should take their learnings and embed applicable international standards in the South African market. Countries like Germany have made sure to introduce and rigorously monitor the quality of all aspects of the solar PV value chain.
“Of course, it is essential that we take into account the nuances of the South African market through country-specific standards, but there is a core set of international standards already developed that would cover every aspect of the PV value chain, from component manufacturing through to the end of the technology’s life,” says Doyle.
Solar Power Africa will take place 16 to 18 February 2022 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Running over three days, the conference will include 18 sessions and over 70 speakers. There will also be a free-to-attend exhibition, with over 60 top suppliers to the sector.
For more information visit: https://solarpowerafrica.za.messefrankfurt.com/capetown/en.html