Tesla expresses interest in SA

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has encouraged Tesla Company to work with his department and the South African government to explore the possibility of setting up the manufacturing of Tesla products in South Africa. The company has expressed the interest of investing in South Africa during a Business Breakfast session in Washington, DC in the United States where Davies was addressing investors. The minister focussed on priorities and interventions for putting South Africa’s economy on a new growth path and on investment and infrastructure opportunities.


Eskom has put more than renewable energy at risk

The true impact of cancellations, delays and uncertainty around the IPP and renewable energy programmes go much further than the energy sector. It puts at risk thousands of current and future jobs, a host of local manufacturing companies, communities’ welfare and, most importantly, undoes what is arguably the most effective public private partnership model this country has ever seen.

More industrial parks on the cards

Government has announced plans to upscale the revitalisation of local industrial parks to 20 locations.

Chairing a media briefing of the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development cluster, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said the roll out of the industrial parks will be a further boost to sectors such as clothing, textiles, footwear and agro-processing, which have been showing signs of recovery in recent months.

The announcement forms part of government’s progress and programme of action in implementing the Nine Point Plan, proposed by Jacob Zuma in his 2015 State of the Nation address.

“Going forward, we will upscale the revitalisation of local industrial parks from four to 20 locations. All these industrial parks are located in former homelands or are adjacent to large townships,” the Minster said.

He said from inception of the Clothing and Textiles Competitiveness Programme in 2010 and March 2015, a total of R3.7bn was approved to support private sector investment.The programme has helped to save 68,000 jobs as well as in creating 6,900 new jobs. Nkwinti said 22 new factories in the leather and footwear sector have been opened.

The sector has been successfully stabilised and is steadily regaining domestic market share and is growing in terms of exports.Nkwinti said the rolling out of more industrial parks is good news for township businesses.

“This intervention will unlock economic activities and link small township businesses into established domestic and global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) supply chains. It will also focus particularly on labour intensive sectors such as clothing, textiles, footwear and agro-processing,” he said.

 Nkwinti said, meanwhile, that government’s commitment to reindustrialise the economy was bearing fruit and that South Africa has provided policy certainty time and again by timeously reviewing the Automotive Production Development Programme.

He said the success of the programme was demonstrated by over R25bn in private sector investment, which has been leveraged over the last five years.

“Investments of this scale are approved only after rigorous feasibility studies by private sector investors and these investments need to be profitable, not just in the short-term but critically in the medium- and long-term.These partnerships are with the private sector, the IDC [Industrial Development Corporation] and state-owned entities,” Nkwinti said.

In the second half of 2015, major new investments were announced including

  • Beijing Auto Works amounting to R12bn
  • BMW to the tune of R6bn
  • Volkswagen amounting to R4.5bn

He said this showed that global multinationals had confidence in the South African economy and its advanced industrial capabilities. Nkwinti said government has developed strong partnerships with the private sector in renewable energy generation.These partnerships have unlocked private sector investment in excess of R194bn.

“Our insistence on local content within the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) has ensured that contracts of over R21bn have been allocated to local suppliers.A further R65bn is expected to be contracted from local suppliers in the next two years.”

In order to strengthen South Africa’s potential in rail manufacturing, the African Union has designated the country as the rail production hub for the continent.The Department of Trade and Industry has partnered with Grindrod for the production of locomotives with 80% local content. 


ABB delivers locally manufactured inverter solutions for 86MWp solar plant in South Africa.

ABB is strengthening its position in the solar market in South Africa by delivering electric balance of plant for an 86 megawatt peak (MWp) project near Prieska in South Africa. This packaged inverter solution comprises locally manufactured inverter stations and medium voltage (MV) stations with related services.

The project has been developed by Mulilo Sonnedix and is to be built by Juwi ZA. The site is located in the Northern Cape region of South Africa close to Prieska, and forms part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPP) round three projects. 

The nominal rating of the project is 76MW alternating current (AC.)The ABB plant is feeding the power to the national high voltage grid. The deliveries start in October 2015 supporting the rapid connection target to the distribution network in May 2016.

ABB’s scope of delivery includes forty 2MW photovoltaic systems (PVS) PVS 800-IS inverter stations (IS,) each containing two PVS800 central inverters, and respective MV stations with 2,4 MVA transformers and ring main units (RMU.)

ABB PVS800 central inverters and inverter stations are manufactured in ABB Johannesburg facilities as well as also the 22kV Ring Main Units (RMUs). Together with locally manufactured medium voltage transformer the local content of ABB delivery exceeds 60%. The hardware delivery is supplemented by a service offering that includes training and commissioning and local support for the years to come.

“The high efficiency, reliability and easy-to-maintain industrial design of our inverters, together with our local service and support capabilities, are the key success factors for ABB PVS800 central inverters in South Africa. All these together with the high local content that ABB is able to provide offer customers a real, bankable solution that we are able to support for years to come in South Africa, We are developing further our service organization in the region to meet the increasing installed base as I expect more deliveries to come,” says Silviu Martinescu, Manager of ABB’s business unit Power Conversion in South Africa.

According to Martinescu, Based on the latest estimates, just in South Africa, an impressive 1.041GW of PV capacity are expected to be installed within a three-year period through 2018.

ABB’s wide portfolio of different sizes of inverters, together with its other products for the solar industry, give customers an attractive one-stop shopping opportunity for packaged solutions for different sizes and types of plants.

The ABB PVS800-IS inverter station, rated from 1.75 to 2MW, is designed for multi-megawatt PV power plants. The inverter station uses two 875kW or 1,000kW PVS800 central inverters. Depending on the size of the PV power plant, several ABB inverter stations can be combined to meet the needed capacity. With a wide list of approvals and with advanced and flexible grid support functions, the inverter station meets all the applicable network connection requirements, regardless of where the project is located.

To help meet bankability requirements and secure the highest return on investment, ABB supports its customers with a dedicated global service network providing a complete range of life cycle services in more than 60 countries.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people. ABB established its operations in South Africa in 1992. Currently, ABB is present across South Africa having about 1200 employees and manufacturing facilities in Longmeadow and Alrode.

The ABB Sub- Saharan service hub and training center is located in Johannesburg. 

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