Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said he expects to seal a deal with the Chinese government next week that will help solar power installers secure access to panels for projects needed to tackle its energy crisis.
The matter will be discussed on the sidelines of a summit of leaders from the Brics group of leading emerging market powers that starts on 22 August in Johannesburg, Ramokgopa said in an interview on Thursday.
“My peer from China and I will be concluding those agreements and the timelines are really that we should be able to get significant investment into the ground in the next six months,” he said.
Ramokgopa travelled to China in June to meet six of the nation’s biggest solar equipment manufacturers in a bid to smooth access to panels and counter persistent blackouts.
South African businesses and households are increasingly opting to reduce their reliance on the grid as state-owned Eskom, which supplies more than 90% of the nation’s electricity, imposes daily power cuts because its old and poorly maintained coal-fired plants can’t meet demand.
The minister said he is confident the outages, known locally as load shedding, will end and predicted that an additional 4.7GW of power would be added to the grid in the next few months. — Mike Cohen, with Anna Edwards, Tom Mackenzie, Nadine Theron and Alister Bull, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP