South Africa’s Solar Power Potential

As the United Nations climate change conference rages on, quite literally, in Durban, South Africa, experts from COP17’s host city point to one alternative energy source that could help it mitigate its emissions: solar power.

According to Dick Berlijn, of Subsolar Energy, Durban has one of the highest and most stable solar radiation levels in the world. “The variable is around 3%. That means that on a good day, solar radiation in South Africa is 100% and 97% on bad days. These conditions are extraordinary,” MD for Pretoria-based Subsolar Energy told Industry Leaders magazine.

With so much solar radiation, Berlijn believes solar is better qualified to produce clean energy for South Africa than wind. Besides, South Africa also has plenty of space to build solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

South Africa needs to start moving towards alternative energy as the country still relies heavily on coal for electric power (90%). The country is the 16th biggest emitter in the global ranking, having dumped 369,4 million tons of CO2 in the atmosphere in 2009.

SolarPlaza’s Solar Future South Africa convention which will take place in Johannesburg in January 2012 will be discussing the country’s solar potential and related topics such as job creation, Feed-in Tariffs and business opportunities.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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One comment on “South Africa’s Solar Power Potential

Will O'Brien

It’s obvious that there is a great potential for solar power in South Africa. Still wind power shouldn’t be neglected. Quite rightly there was established a „Wind Power Center of Competence for Africa and the Middle East” in South Africa (source:

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