South Africa joins world solar top 10

South Africa has joined the world’s top-ranked nations for installed utility-scale solar power capacity, a new report has found.

According to figures from solar sector analysis group Wiki-Solar, the nation has connected 15 solar plants with a combined capacity of over 500 MW to the grid.

Four utility-scale photovoltaic plants (defined by WikiSolar as 4 MW and above) have recently come online in South Africa as part of its independent power producer procurement programme for renewable energy. These include two 66 MW plants at Lesedi (pictured) and Letatsi, developed by US-based SolarReserve and South Africa’s Intikon Energy and grid-connected in May. A project developed by another US solar firm, Sunpower, came online in June.

Wiki-Solar’s Philip Wolfe commented, “France and Italy’s position in the top 10 may now be under threat. Substantial pipelines of projects, not only in South Africa but also in Japan and Chile, suggest that they too will soon be contenders for solar power’s First Division.”

The world’s top 10 utility-scale solar nations are: the US (with 6498 MW installed), China (4607 MW), Germany (3428 MW), India (1897 MW), Spain (1680 MW), the UK (1523 MW), Italy (875 MW), Canada (714 MW) and France (677 MW). South Africa displaces Ukraine (477 MW), which held the number 10 slot in WikiSolar’s January ranking.à‚ 

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