The sun could power the whole of South Africa, claims Solarplaza.Com, a Rotterdam, Netherlands-based solar-analysis company.
According to SolarPlaza.Com, after the Sahara and some parts of Australia, ‘The Rainbow Nation’ has the most stable and reliable solar radiation output in the world and is blessed with ample space and plenty of solar hours.
“We think South Africa’s solar power potential is enormous,” says Edwin Koot, CEO of SolarPlaza. “Apart from a superb radiation output, the country is developing at a relatively fast pace, and has ample space. We think South Africa could generate all of its electricity from the sun, that is how big the resource is.”
S. Africa gets a lot of sun Dick Berlijn, managing director of the Pretoria-based solar electricity development firm Subsolar Energy, agrees: “The variability of South Africa’s annual solar radiation is around 3%. That means that in a good year, solar radiation here is 100%, with 97% in bad years.”
In addition, the fact that some areas get in excess of 2,500 sun hours per year makes for a great source with a low variability. “These conditions are extraordinary,” says Berlijn.
According to Koot, investing in solar energy can be very lucrative, as South Africa is beset with persistent energy shortages and a large carbon footprint.
“And let’s not forget the declining prices of solar energy,” Koot notes. “Over the past five years, solar energy prices have come down by 70%.”
Koot adds that when the price of coal goes up, it will substantially affect the price of electricity in South Africa, as well as in other countries which rely on coal to produce much of their electricity.
“That’s why investing in solar, especially in South Africa, makes a lot of sense,” Koot says.