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African Quartz Photovoltaic welcomes interventions to end load shedding

A solar panel fitted onto the roof of the home.

A solar panel fitted onto the roof of the home.

Published Jul 27, 2022

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African Quartz Photovoltaic (AQP), has said it welcomes the announcement made by President Ramaphosa to end energy scarcity and load shedding.

AQP said it commits to work with all South Africans to be part of a sustainable solution and to close the electricity gap.

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AQP is a manufacturer of high-quality solar modules (panels) established in the Saldanha SEZ with an annual capacity of 500 Megawatt (MW).

Solar energy generation plants are designed to produce panels with a lifetime of 25 years or longer.

The active cells within a solar panel form 60% of the Capex cost for a solar project and the importation thereof raises the cost of moving to a renewable energy future for South Africa.

“The localization of solar cells favours South Africa’s rich endowment in ultra-pure crystal quartz, a beneficiation step AQP will embark on soon. AQP panels will be manufactured according to the highest quality standards to ensure reliability standards that are certified by the CSIR. AQP will contract with the CSIR’s photovoltaic (PV) module quality and reliability testing laboratory – a first of its kind for Africa – including world-class equipment for localizing accelerated reliability stress testing on PV modules. This ensures that only high-quality modules that are suitable to the uniquely South African climate are developed and installed,” the company said.

AQP went on to say that it welcomed government interventions to end energy scarcity and load shedding.

AQP will also contract TÜV Rheinland who has more than 35 years in the solar industry to collaborate with the CSIR to develop testing services that address our needs to meet our high-quality goals. CSIR and TÜV Rheinland, the ISO 17025 accredited laboratories will test and certify our PV modules according to national and international standards, including IEC 61215 and IEC 61730.

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The 500 MW AQP solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing plant in the Saldanha Bay Special Economic Zone (SEZ), will produce 120 panels per hour, operate 3 shifts of 8 hours, and will focus on half cells M10 that will generate approximately 550 to 600 watt per panel.

AQP says it will employ workers from the Saldanha Bay area, provide training for our employees and collaborate with our local community with upliftment, entrepreneurial, and empowerment projects. Our training centre will offer full know-how transfer regarding the production, working directly with the raw materials and the machines.

This will enable businesses and households to heed the call of the president to invest in rooftop solar which will support addressing the electricity shortage of up to 6,000 MW.

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“This is important because Eskom will now also purchase additional energy from existing private generators such as mines, paper mills, shopping centres, households, and other private entities that have surplus power.”

AQP said it will collaborate with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition and the Independent Power Producers Office to develop a pragmatic approach to ensure the local content requirements for projects of Bid Window 5 are prioritized to build new capacity as quickly as possible.

“We also welcome the amount of new generation capacity procured through Bid Window 6 for wind and solar power will increase from 2,600 MW to 5,200 MW.”

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“Our investment will assist businesses and households to meaningfully invest in rooftop solar and harvest South Africa’s abundance of solar incidence. There is significant potential for households and businesses to install rooftop solar and connect this power to the grid. More importantly, to incentivise greater uptake of rooftop solar, Eskom will develop rules and a pricing structure – known as a feed-in tariff – for all commercial and residential installations on its network. This means that those who can and have installed solar panels in their homes or businesses will be able to sell surplus power they don’t need to Eskom,” AQP further stated.

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