PIC pumps R16.5 billion into renewable energy

The Public Investment Corp. intends to increase its investment in renewable energy as South Africa battles to resolve a power crisis that’s stifling economic growth.

“If you look at our renewable energy book, we have now funded and have got an exposure of R16.5 billion — and it is going to grow,” Kabelo Rikhotso, chief investment officer at the PIC said on Tuesday.

Eskom is struggling to meet electricity demand because of its old and poorly maintained coal-fired plants, resulting in severe power rationing to prevent a complete collapse of the grid.

The government has turned to independent power producers to help build capacity, though the program has faced delays. Financial institutions are increasingly offering households and businesses funding solutions to limit their reliance on the state-owned electricity provider.

The PIC, Africa’s top fund manager which oversees about R2.6 trillion in assets, is also the biggest holder of Eskom’s domestic bonds.

According to its annual report, the firm currently has investments in renewable energy that have contributed more than 2,000 megawatts to the grid through photo-voltaic, concentrated solar power and wind technology.

An investment of 310 million rand in Rifuwo Energy Partners on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, is among its newly-funded renewable energy projects.

“In the properties where we can put solar panels on the roof, we are going to do it,” Rikhotso said.


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