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Having secured a number of PV inverter supply deals as part of South Africa’s utility-scale PV program, SMA Solar Technology is to manufacturer the inverters in the country to comply with local content requirements.

Under the South African Department of Energy’s (DoE) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), the country is rolling-out around 2GW of PV power plants estimated to cost in the region of US$2.9 billion.

Recently, ABB said it was planning to manufacturer PV inverters in South Africa for the REIPPPP contracts with a capacity of 500MW per annum, building its PVS800 range of central inverters.

Although PV inverter supplier information for the REIPPPP power plants is less than comprehensive, PV Tech’s own research yet to be released in a two part in-depth report into the South African projects suggests that SMA Solar has already secured at least 40MW of inverter orders, while Siemens has secured at least 184MW.

Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA Solar Technology said, “South Africa has strategic importance for SMA. The country has good economic growth with a corresponding increase in energy demand. Here, photovoltaics is already a financially attractive alternative to other forms of power generation. With the opening of our sales and service office in Centurion last year, we have successfully launched in the rapidly growing South African market. The planned production for central inverters enables us to meet the local content requirements and thus to profit from the expected future growth of the South African market.”

SMA Solar said that it was already preparing to start production in South Africa, noting that production would be based on the company’s flexible manufacturing approach. Other’s such as ABB are expected to adopt the same approach.