JA Solar and Powerway have formed a joint venture to establish a PV module assembly plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa with an initial nameplate capacity of 150MW.
The JV partners said that production would start as early as the second quarter of 2014 and would employ around 200 workers.
The plant is being located in the Port Elizabeth’s COEGA Industrial Development Zone and the partners have the option to ramp capacity to 600MW to meet expected demand in the country.
Baofang Jin, executive chairman and CEO of JA Solar said, “This facility will play a crucial role, as we seek to benefit from the significant growth potential across the Southern African region. Improved cost-effectiveness is making solar an increasingly attractive energy alternative in South Africa. Having a presence on the ground will give us the local knowledge and qualification needed to identify and [pursuit] the best commercial opportunities while providing better services to our customers. We’re delighted to be working with Powerway South Africa, which has built up a powerful brand and an extensive sales network in South Africa through a long-established track record.”
The South African Department of Energy (DoE) introduced the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to deploy alternative sources of electricity in the country to meet growing demand and reduce the occurrence of black-outs and its success has kick-started significant growth potential in the country.
The two initial tender phases of REIPPPP attracted major international project developers and module manufacturers as well as leading component (BOS) suppliers such as SMA Solar and Powerway to the country.
“We’re seeing increasing demand for quality solar modules in the South African market and the central position of this facility means it is ideally located for Exports from the COEGA Port and will serve project sites in Northern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng and the greater Southern Africa region,” added Charles Domingo Managing Director of Powerway South Africa. “We already have a long and fruitful relationship with JA Solar and are delighted to be extending that into a new and exciting market.”
Over 1GW of PV projects were sanctioned under the first two REIPPPP rounds with several utility-scale projects completed in 2013.
Financial details of the JV were not disclosed.