If you are feeling uncertain about the future of South Africa’s energy landscape, you are not alone.
The country experienced its most severe bouts of load shedding ever in 2023, and Eskom warned that the worst is yet to come at the start of the new year — something that may soon be confirmed by the impending 12.74% electricity price hike coming in April 2024.
But every cloud has a silver lining…
The undeniable severity of recent blackouts and sky-rocketing utility bills have emphasised the urgency with which leaders must bolster alternative energy supplies in 2024. As such, several exciting trends relating to installed capacity and PV products are on the horizon.
So, what are some of these trends?
Soaring solar capacity
In 2024, installed solar capacity will rise in countries around the world — and South Africa is certainly no exception.
According to the International Energy Agency Renewables (IEA) 2023 report, which was published in January this year, all renewable electricity capacity additions will maintain an upward curve next year and beyond. And unsurprisingly, solar PV will overtake other alternative energy technologies.
If the IEA’s main case is achieved, global solar PV capacity additions will reach 400 GW in 2024 (a figure that rises to 475 GW in the organisation’s accelerated case). As for how South Africa will fare, the country’s capacity additions are thought to reach just over 4 GW over the next 12 months; the installation of utility-scale projects just needs to speed up to make this happen!
Accelerated uptake across the continent
Interestingly, this year will see rapid improvement in North African and sub-Saharan renewables — areas that have typically struggled to scale up infrastructure in the past.
Whilst South Africa will expectedly dominate the market, the IEA predicts that distributed solar will enable 5 GW of additions in Nigeria. This generous forecast is largely down to the work of the country’s Rural Electrification Agency, which is using minigrids to improve electrification rates.
Meanwhile, more than 2 GW of new renewable capacity is to be added in Kenya, where leaders are planning to swap the existing feed-in-tariff (FiT) programme with a more robust auction scheme featuring firm pricing structures and a set schedule. If the swap is made, plenty of timely and effective independent power producer (IPP) projects could emerge as the year goes on.
Increased government support
Over the coming months, global and national leaders will prove their support for renewables with various financial incentives.
Although South Africa’s current policy, which offers homeowners owners money back on the cost of solar panels, is set to expire in February 2024, the country has been under pressure to do more to support investments in solar power for some time — and it looks like the policy will be renewed…
In his recent national briefing, electricity minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa proclaimed, ‘The incentives must not just be applicable for a year, but must be extended to three or five years’. Addressing long-standing criticisms of the policy, he also said, ‘Incentives must not be limited just for solar PV panels, but must also be extended to batteries and inverters’. This all sounds promising!
Advances in PV technology
As the global transition away from fossil fuels and towards Net Zero goals grows more pressing, so does the need for high-performance solar products — something we will see the effects of this year.
For instance, leaders will investigate ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) to gather data about sun exposure and power generation in 2024, hoping to optimise solar panel positioning. And there are ample innovative components that could be yours whilst AI-powered ones are being developed…
The LP inverters are an exciting new release from KODAK Solar Products promising to deliver reliable power to South African Development Community (SADC) areas. Equipped with configurable charging, generator compatibility and Wi-Fi for remote monitoring, these new off-grid solutions are an excellent example of the power of modern PV products — and what is to come in 2024.
Learn more about the LP inverters and discover the entire KODAK Solar Products portfolio in the brochure today; it is the perfect way to kickstart your transition to solar before you find a skilled local installer!