AREP was invited to participate in the Ministerial RE Sector Engagement Forum on the 16th July 2020 where a host of organisations were given 5 minutes to do a short presentation to the audience which included the minister and a number of delegates from the DMRE.

The partial event video can be watched on the AREP Youtube page – Find the link to the video at the bottom of the page.

AREP’s chairman Greg Blandford represented AREP and the following text provides a breakdown of Greg’s input at the event.

Firstly, thank you Chris and the honourable minister of energy Mr Mantashe for the opportunity to address this forum as AREP, and we also wish you a speedy recovery. As AREP, we fully support renewable energy programs in South Africa.

What is AREP? It is an acronym for the Association for renewable energy practitioners

It is a behind-the-meter non-profit quality assurance association that aims to promote the adoption of renewable energy through a platform that reduces stakeholder and end-user risk.

We aim to keep industry informed on market trends, latest technologies, applicable standards, industry growth and best practice through a quality assurance platform which includes access to data, reports and newsletters.

AREP aims to improve the quality of renewable energy installations and the services offered by various stakeholders in the energy sector. This is a key point as we strive to drive long term sustainability in the pv industry through skills development and in turn, job creation.

We aim to play a leading role in the renewable energy sector by gathering and sharing statistics amongst industry members and provide skills and training through the assurance platform.

We also identify practical issues that impact the execution, adoption, and installation of renewable energy projects and assist in providing solutions to accelerate the adoption of renewable technologies.

The Association is not involved with driving Governmental Policy, municipal policy, or the creation of standards but will lobby with government to change, act or amend regulations in order to promote renewables. Hence we fully support the ministerial engagement forum for renewable energy.

We believe that we are currently in a window of opportunity to address issues which hold back implementation of Small Scale Embedded Generation which encompasses both residential and commercial/industrial solar installations This sector continues to grow between 30-40% year on year. This growth is a challenge in itself, as many new entrants into the industry don’t have the skills required to install PV. This is especially true for residential systems linked with energy storage or backup.

Addressing bottlenecks at ground level and barriers to entry for SSEG, we have found that some of the largest bottlenecks currently exist in the application process and registration of small-scale embedded generation with municipalities. We are working with some of these municipalities and solar equipment providers to issue the application documents for SSEG on the purchase of goods to installers. This ensures compliance with regulations and reduces the risk of installers bypassing the registration process for solar installations.

The lack of skills and training is another underlying bottleneck. This is the key to unlocking large scale job creation. Access to technical and skills training is a huge need in South Africa with many wanting to gain access to the solar industry. In general, the costs associated with training means that many small entrepreneurs struggle to get off the ground. AREP have sought to keep these costs as low as possible and offer a free online testing platform which has global reach and tests the abilities of applicants wishing to access the solar industry. A pass rate of 80% is required for this test. To date the free PV testing platform has been completed by more than 1500 candidates in 11 countries on 3 continents. Details for this skills development program can be shared on request.

The opportunity for the creation of jobs within the SSEG is tremendous. For example, every 1GW of 5kW residential systems installed per annum would entail the installation of 200 000 solar systems with the potential to create more than 5000 sustained new jobs. New business opportunities are also created within this space for operation and maintenance of these systems, once installed. The key here is skills development and human resources to deliver a result.

In short, the renewable energy industry in South Africa is growing, it is dynamic, and operates in a fast-moving technology space. With new technologies in energy storage, new high efficiency solar panels and the coming electric vehicle revolution AREP is to see South Africa preparing for the new energy economy.

AREP is ready to assist. Thank you.


Other associations that were present at the event

  1. DMRE – Department of mineral resources and energy
  2. AMEU – Association municipal electrical utilities
  3. Eskom – Eskom – utility
  4. SAREC – South african renewable energy council
  5. SAWEA – South African wind energy association
  6. SAPVIA – South african PV industry Association
  7. SAESA – South African Energy Storage Association
  8. SESSA – Sustainable energy Society of south africa
  9. SAIPPA – South African independent power producers association
  10. AREP – Association Renewable energy practitioners.
  11. BEPA – Black Energy Professionals Association
  12. SAIEE – South african institute for Energy Engineers
  13. EIUG – Energy intensive user group SA
  14. BUSA/BLSA – Business Unity SA
  15. BBC – Black Business Council
  16. MCSA – Mineral Council of SA
  17. BASA – Banking Association of SA
  18. SEIFSA – Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa
  19. COSATU – Congress of South African Trade Unions
  20. CSIR – Council for scientific and industrial research
  21. Knowledge Pele – Training and skills development institution
  22. SAREM – The South African Renewable Energy Masterplan

The full event video can be watched Ministerial RE Sector Engagement Forum Event Recording