Solar panel plant to address South Africa’s power shortage

October 31st, 2011 - 11:52 am ICT by IANS  

East London (South Africa), Oct 31 (IANS) A $1.3 million solar panel manufacturing plant has opened in South Africa that could go a long way in addressing the power shortage in the country, state-run news agency BuaNews reported.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters, while opening the Ikhwezi Solar Energy plant in East London, said the government was looking into solar water heating (SWH) to supply hot water to under-served communities, especially in rural areas.

“We are also looking into this technology to address demand-side management, so that the middle and upper income residential segment can reduce their own consumption of electricity,” said Peters.

She said her department was prepared to work with other companies like Ikhwezi to support development of the green economy.

“If Ikhwezi Solar’s technology is available at a reasonable price, there is a huge market out there, not only in the Eastern Cape, but throughout the country. I believe that competition is minimal and I challenge other companies to do the same,” said Peters.

The plant has been designed using green building principles, including natural lighting systems for the factory floor, with water requirements being met by a 20,000 litre rainwater harvesting system.

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