The South Africa solar photovoltaic (PV) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 10% during the forecast period. As the solar industry has cut costs dramatically in the past six years through economies of scale and cost of solar panel dropping exponentially are expected to drive the market during the forecast period. Moreover, increasing demand for electricity and raising awareness about environmental sustainability is also expected to promulgate the solar PV market in South Africa. However, the high initial cost of investment required to set up a solar PV plant in the country is likely to hinder the growth of the market being studied.
- The rooftop segment is expected to be the fastest-growing market during the forecast period, owing to government initiatives and upcoming rooftop installation projects in the country, majorly in commercial, agriculture, industrial, and mining sectors.
- Due to increasing blackouts in the country leading to the electricity crisis and increasing demand for continuous power, several opportunities are expected for the market players in South Africa to full-in the supply and demand gap.
- The government policies and increased investments in solar PV projects to increase the installed solar PV capacity of the country is expected to drive the market during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Rooftop Installation to be the Fastest Growing Market
- Although utility-scale solar PV projects have gained a significant share in the market studied, small-scale rooftop solar PV systems represent an important part of the market. Moreover, rooftop solar offers the benefits of modern electricity services to households that had no access to electricity, reducing electricity costs, in turn driving the market in South Africa.
- The GreenCape Smart Electricity project has focused efforts to create an enabling environment for rooftop PV and other small scale embedded generation (SSEG) technologies in Western Cape, which could lead to the installation of more than 200MW of rooftop installations in WC in the upcoming year.
- In 2018, Mall of Africa in South Africa inaugurated is one of the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system, with 4,755 kW installation covering most of the available mall roof space, an area of about 45,000 m² and the energy generated is used to power the mall’s daily operations.
- Moreover, rooftop solar systems generate electricity during the daylight, coinciding with the peak hours of most factory operations. Hence, while the sun is out, manufacturing facilities have the option to either limit their dependence on the national grid or abandon it completely. Hence, with increased use of rooftop solar PV modules, the market is expected to the fastest growing during the forecast period.
Government Policies and Increasing Investments to Drive the Market
- Solar energy is the most readily accessible resource in South Africa, with an average of more than 2,500 hours of sunshine per year. The country’s average solar-radiation level ranges between 4.5 and 6.5kWh/m2 per day.
- Until the launch of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Program (REIPPP) in 2011, the solar energy sector was virtually non-existent. However, after the start of the program, the installed capacity for solar PV reached more than 30% of the total renewable energy in 2018.
- Under REIPPP, the country aims to install 8,400 MW generation capacity of solar PV by 2030, enough to provide energy to 1.5 million households. In addition, the country also plans to install 18 GW of solar PV by 2050.
- However, the market is expected to rise as Eskom, South Africa's state power utility is planning to sign several renewable energy projects, with private producers. These projects are expected to add 2,305 MW of green power, including mostly solar and wind. This is expected to increase investment for solar PV manufacturers, which in turn is expected to drive the market for solar PV during the forecast period.
The South Africa Solar PV market is moderately fragmented. Some of the key players are Canadian Solar Inc, Enel Green Power S.p.A., JinkoSolar Holding Co., and JA Solar Holdings.
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