The prediction comes as a vote of confidence for South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPP). The program, soon to announce a major round of solar projects, is hoping to reach 1.45 GW of solar generation capacity in 2014.
Eskom, South Africa’s state utility firm, has been amenable to a transition towards renewables. It sees this transition as part of a broader reform towards a more decentralized energy generation system. As it currently stands, Eskom is dependent on a few large coal-firing plants. It wants to move away from this system, with its inherent risks, to a diversification of energy sources and plants.
The report was released shortly after a $140 million loan from the French Development Agency to Eskom was announced. This loan is intended to bolster South Africa’s solar generation capacity with a 100 MW solar power plant outside of Upington.
As it currently stands, South Africa relies on coal for 85% of its energy supply. It has been seeking to change this, through the aforementioned REIPPP and through investing $5 billion in clean energy programs.
Alongside these efforts, the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. has loaned $33.6 million to Abengoa, a Spanish energy firm. A large portion of these funds will go towards further establishing South Africa’s solar power industry. The U.S. has already made a commitment towards clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa with its Power Africa initiative, investing $7 billion towards these efforts.