In many European countries there has been a big push over the last couple of years to get businesses and individuals using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. The movement has  taken hold here in South Africa, but it is nowhere near where it could be.

According to Companies and Market research, South Africa’s electricity access has grown by over 50% since 1994, but renewable energy is lagging behind. “South Africa’s clean energy penetration stands at around 511MW of installed capacity out of a national total of almost 43GW. However, in 2013, nearly 180MW was added, mainly in the form of solar and further expansion is planned.”

While commercial banks have been some of the biggest sponsors of clean energy, the biggest lender in the country is Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which, according to recent figures, provided the financing for 16 separate projects.

(And in case you were wondering, the most expensive largest deal last year was a $1.2bn solar thermal electricity generating plant by Eskom in Upington.)

But things are definitely moving in the right direction: last year the US government launched Power Africa, an initiative that aims to have a lot more people connected to an electricity grid in sub-Saharan Africa. The biggest driver for that has been the investment into regional wind, solar, biomass and geothermal resources.

“For the first five years of Power Africa, US administration has committed over $7 billion in loan guarantees and financial support. To date, Power Africa has borrowed more than $20 billion from the private sector for new on and off-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa,” Companies and Market explained in a blog post.

As stated, South Africa’s clean energy penetration stands at around 511MW, but Power Africa would like to see an increase in the country’s renewable energy to 42% by 2030, as outlined in its Integrated Resources Plan.

[Source – Companies and Market, Image – Shutterstock]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.