South Africa’s electricity minister said he expects to seal a deal with the Chinese government next week that will help solar-power installers in the African nation 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 22 August in Johannesburg, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday.
“I and my peer from China 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 utility 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 4,700 MW of power would be added to the grid in the next few months.