With the increasing drive for renewable energy adoption in South Africa, the DA finds it concerning that the Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni Abrahams, is not actively working to promote increased SMME participation in the renewable energy manufacturing sector.
I will be writing to Minister Abrahams requesting clarity on what her department’s plan is to guarantee inclusion of SMMEs in Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) and the amendment of the National Integrated Small Enterprise Development (NISED) Masterplan to reflect this.
Recent media reports indicated that South Africa only has two companies that manufacture modules or panels for solar energy generation. Clearly, an opportunity does exist to reduce barriers for entry to a multiplicity of small to medium enterprises which will create jobs and provide skills to the unemployed.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Energy Action Plan did acknowledge that there is significant potential for households and businesses to install rooftop solar photovoltaics (PVs) and connect this power to the grid. SMMEs can play a vital role in increasing output for solar PVs and lower the cost of installation over time, which at the moment remain very high.
In addition to renewable energy hardware manufacturing, extensive employment opportunities do exist to upskill the unemployed in solar PV installations and maintenance.
Small Scale Embedded Generation (SSEG) has a very extensive value chain that can open up opportunities for SMME participation in manufacturing, transportation, installation, and maintenance of components, or through the generation of electricity itself.
The DA supports the inclusion of South Africa’s SMME in the energy industry as the sector holds the key for sustainable economic growth, inclusion and long-term social stability.