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Solar Panel Imports from China see an Unprecedented High in South Africa

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The first half of 2023 marked a new high in South Africa’s solar panel imports from China, tallying an overwhelming 3.4 gigawatts (GW). The import volume nearly corresponds to the power production capacities of Eskom's Duvha and Matla power stations, both rated at 3.6 GW capacity, as unveiled by the energy-centered think tank Ember.



The Ember report highlights the boom in China's solar photovoltaic (PV) exports, which climbed a remarkable 33% to reach 114 GW within the first six months of the year. Among the key importers, Europe ranked first accounting for over half of China's solar PV exports, being at 52.5%, followed by Brazil at 9.5 GW.


Interestingly, Africa, specifically South Africa, and the Middle East are witnessing the most accelerated surge in solar panel imports. South Africa's imports amplified an imaginable 187%, becoming the crucial driving force for Africa's entire import growth.


Frequent power outages in South Africa are proving instrumental in compelling residents to gravitate towards rooftop solar installations, consequently pushing up solar panel imports. To this trend, the government's short-term tax breaks are fanning the flames. With an offer to qualify for a tax credit of up to 25% of the solar PV panel installation cost for households and 125% tax deduction for renewable energy projects for businesses, there has been a substantial growth in solar adoption.



Government-backed solar financing loans further facilitate this renewable energy switch. With cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg offering feed-in tariffs, the prospects of renewable energy adoption look promising.


Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, the overseer of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan, agrees with Ember’s insights and underlines the growing trend in the trade data he monitors.


This quantum leap in solar panel imports from China shows South Africa's strengthening resolution for renewable energy and indicates a transformation towards a reliable and sustainable energy future.


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