Solar photovoltaic (PV)-generated electricity is a key energy source poised to meet Africa’s rapidly growing energy demand, which cannot be met by traditional sources alone.
The first Africa Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference (PVSEC) event will take place from 27 to 29 March 2014 in Durban, South Africa and highlights the fact that there is not only a rapidly growing African scientific community surrounding solar PV power generation, but also that the installation of PV generation systems is accelerating in many African countries and promises to be an economic factor in their national economies.
Due to that part of the world’s closer proximity to the sun, a huge bonus is derived from PV technology in Africa.
Dr. Arnulf Jäger-Waldau, European Commission, DG JRC, and AfricaPVSEC Technical Program Chairman, says, “In Africa, the same photovoltaic panel in average can produce twice as much electricity than in Central Europe. Grid parity is already possible in South Africa. This means investments in solar technology pay off.”
“The main application of PV systems in Africa is in small solar home systems. All African countries are potential or emerging markets.”
While solar energy was viewed as a more expensive energy source just a few years ago, the cost of generation has become comparable to those of other renewable energies, and electricity derived from solar technology has become competitive compared to energy produced from fossil fuels.
Only the expansion of renewable energies can have a lasting effect to prevent rising prices for oil, gas, coal and uranium. South Africa’s target of building 8.4 GW of PV capacity by 2030, combined with the success of its large-scale tendering process in attracting investment to fulfil that goal, has made the country the most attractive emerging PV market globally, according to market research firm IHS Technology.
South Africa scored 66 out of 100 in the IHS Emerging PV Markets Attractiveness Index for the fourth quarter of 2013.
Africa PVSEC is designed to provide an international platform to present and discuss the latest scientific results, as well as offer networking opportunities for solar industry professionals and public policy stakeholders. The conference program covers three main topics, focusing on the wide spectrum of photovoltaic technology ranging from fundamental materials research to business and policy assessments:
- PV Technologies, Cells, Modules, Systems: Material studies for solar cells and modules; solar cell improvements; characterisation (all types of solar cells); PV modules; and BOS (balance of system) components
- Implementation (Technical) and Standardisation: PV system reliability and availability; stand-alone systems; mini-grids; grid integration of PV systems; and standardisation as tool for trade, innovation and cost reduction
- Enabling Environment (Economical): PV business opportunities; the cost of PV systems in Africa; business models for mini-grids, PV in electricity markets; financing PV in Africa; PV globalization, enabling regulatory frameworks; and policy developments.
AfricaPVSEC has attracted applications from 111 organizations in 38 countries to make an oral or visual presentation at the upcoming conference in Durban. Additional details about the AfricaPVSEC conference programme will be announced in the coming days.