South Africa is actively seeking cost-effective solar panels, wind turbines, battery storage, and renewable energy technologies from China in an effort to resolve its ongoing energy crisis. The country ranked as the 12th largest carbon emitter globally, is currently grappling with severe power outages and has secured Western donations to transition away from coal-based power generation.
South Africa aims to mitigate daily rolling blackouts, which can last up to 10 hours, while simultaneously increasing its renewable energy capacity, particularly in solar energy, through large-scale industrial plants and rooftop installations.
Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa stated during a South Africa-China energy conference that they are looking to China for assistance in addressing the equipment availability issue. The country has an extensive pipeline of wind and solar projects, totaling up to 66 gigawatts (GW). Ramokgopa expects over 5,500 megawatts (MW) to be operational by 2026. Eskom, the state utility responsible for 80% of the nation’s power supply, currently has an installed capacity of 45 GW.
The majority of the renewable energy capacity will come from solar installations on residential and government buildings, requiring a substantial supply of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Ramokgopa mentioned plans to lead a delegation to China in the upcoming weeks to establish a relationship with Chinese counterparts. However, he clarified that no financial support would be sought for Eskom’s debt burden.
Ramokgopa expressed appreciation for China’s positive response, as other embassies did not offer assistance without conditions. Siyabonga Cwele, South Africa’s ambassador to China, conveyed through a video message that China’s advanced and affordable technology has the potential to aid South Africa in achieving its energy objectives.