SA’s first utility-scale solar inverter factory opens


International power equipment supplier 3W Power/AEG Power Solutions has officially opened a manufacturing facility, in the Western Cape, which has the capacity to produce 200 MW/year of solar inverters, as well as electrical distribution boxes.

Situated in Milnerton, the 3400 m2 factory is the first facility of its kind in Southern Africa and its opening was attended by both Energy Minister Dipuo Peters and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

AEG Power Solutions CEO Horst Kayser said that the company had equipped and commissioned more than 860 utility-scale solar installations around the world.

“As the first factory of its kind in Africa, we will be using this facility, as well as our international expertise, to grow South Africa’s role in this important industry sector across the continent,” Kayser added.

MD for South Africa Trevor de Vries said the plant had begun operations ahead of schedule in June and would help South Africa achieve its stated goal of having 42% of new electricity generation arising from renewable sources over the coming 20 years.

“This plant is a big part of our local community and is already providing local jobs, with more on the horizon as production increases,” De Vries added.

He added that the plant had already contributed to furthering government’s independent power producer (IPP) procurement programme, and as the only local producer of utility-scale solar inverters, AEG Power Solutions was well positioned to assist IPPs involved in solar projects to meet set requirements.

The company had participated in the first two bid windows under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) and was planning to participate in the third round of bidding in early 2013.

Through the REIPPP, the South African government was seeking to procure 3 725 MW of capacity to be introduced into the national grid between 2014 nd 2016.