A multimillion-rand manufacturing facility will be opened in Cape Town by SMA Solar Technology, a German manufacturer of solar inverters today.
The facility includes a production line and quality test centre for SMA's Sunny Central inverters, warehousing, as well as the African branch of the SMA Solar Academy training centre. This is the third renewable energy manufacturing facility, supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to open in the country in the past four months.The factory would contribute to the drive to expand the capabilities of the South African manufacturing industry and to increase the country's industrial base, the DTI said.
The green economy has been identified as a key focus area of the Industrial Policy Action Plan, and provides significant opportunities for job creation and economic growth. Minister Rob Davies said that Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA,) a division of his department, had facilitated investments to the value of R3bn in the manufacturing of equipment and components for the renewable energy industry since the 2013/2014 financial year.
"Investment in the green economy therefore contributed significantly to Tisa's 2013/14 investment pipeline of R60bn. The current pipeline for the 2014/15 financial year is at R27bn, with a significant contribution from the green economy [at R10bn,]" he said.
SMA said it had made the decision to invest in South Africa's manufacturing capacity in response to the government's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP), through which 1,484MW of solar photovoltaic projects have been procured.Thorsten Ronge, the managing director of SMA South Africa, said the group chose to set up its manufacturing base in Cape Town as it was close to the existing solar supply chain. The company has already supplied inverters to the recently completed 40MW Linde PV plant in Northern Cape province, as well as to the 75MW Kalkbult project, also in the Northern Cape.