SAPVIA appoints Dr RB Melamu as CEO

Renewables expert and thought leader, Dr. Rethabile Melamu, takes on the leadership role at the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association.

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) is stepping into the next decade of solar with a new CEO at the helm.

SAPVIA has appointed the internationally recognised thought leader, Dr. Rethabile Melamu as CEO, effective from May 2022.

A Chemical and Environmental Engineer by training, Melamu has become renowned for her international expertise in the green economy and energy sectors. She has leveraged both the theoretical and practical to harness innovative smart technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change in society, with a dedicated focus on African sustainable development.

Melamu also brings on-the-ground experience developing sub-national energy, green economy and public sector strategies and policies from inception to implementation.

Recognised most recently as one of the “Women Who Are Changing South Africa in the Public Sector”, Dr Melamu’s private and public sector technical and strategic leadership experience is sure to be an asset to SAPVIA as the Association charts a forward path to continue growing the solar PV sector’s role in South Africa’s energy future, in collaboration with government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

“As we celebrate a decade of solar in South Africa, it is fitting that we have at the helm of the Association a driven, experienced and powerful advocate for renewable energy. Dr Melamu comes to SAPVIA with an outstanding track record of delivery. She will lead the organisation into a new era of growth, focussing our strategic direction and ensuring that our members capitalise on the local and regional solar markets.”

“Dr Melamu’s experience and insight will ensure that we take SAPVIA and solar PV in South Africa to the next level, developing a culture of thought leadership, leveraging credible market intelligence and curating a best practice solar PV value chain” said Wido Schnabel, SAPVIA Chair.

Dr Melamu was most recently general manager of Green Economy at The Innovation Hub where she managed a portfolio of 40 green economy start-ups that develop and commercialise clean-tech solutions and technologies that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as the creation of much needed employment opportunities.

She was also Acting Chief Director: Sector and Industry Development at the Gauteng Department of Economic Development where she led the development of 11 economic sector strategies to ensure that the province was transformed, modernised and re-industrialised. In her time at the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, Melamu also spearheaded engagement with private and public sectors, locally and internationally, to stimulate the growth of the Green  Economy in the Gauteng province.

“I am delighted to take on the role of CEO and I have no doubt that unlocking largely untapped renewable energy capacity can catalyse the implementation of the country’s sustainable development imperatives, invigorate industrial activity, and deliver meaningful socio-economic value to its citizens,” said Dr Rethabile Melamu.

“As a trusted partner to government, I foresee SAPVIA and key stakeholders increasingly contributing towards the creation of conducive business and regulatory environments that will unlock market opportunities along the solar PV value chain for the benefit of SAPVIA’s members and the broader sector.”

SAPVIA is a member-led organisation formed with the express purpose of growing the solar PV sector’s role in powering South Africa’s future. The Association advocates, engages and influences on behalf of members to harness the power of solar PV and capitalise on the opportunities it offers companies, individuals and the broader South African economy.

“Solar PV should play a leading role in the just transition, not least because it can be adapted and harnessed for individual households across South Africa, for large commercial and industrial usage and everything in between. It is vital that we highlight the potential of solar PV to deliver sustainable and secure electricity for all and I have no doubt that Dr Melamu’s experience and energy will ensure we do so in the years ahead,” added Maloba G Tshehla, SAPVIA Spokesperson.

She will be supported in her role by the SAPVIA MANCO, Secretariat as well as the wider membership base.

“I strongly value collaborative partnerships. I plan to nurture existing partnerships and foster new ones that will deliver value to our members, the public sector and the country’s citizens. I would like to bolster SAPVIA’ position as the go-to organisation for all matters relating to the development, regulation and promotion of solar PV in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa,” added Dr Rethabile Melamu.

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