Ramaphosa wants more homes with solar power – but war in Europe will delay the rollout

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Ramaphosa wants more homes with solar power – but war in Europe will delay the rollout

  • South African households have been encouraged to install rooftop solar panels as one of the solutions to combat the country's energy crisis.
  • While President Cyril Ramaphosa would like to see a greater uptake of rooftop solar, Europe's own power panic has added to a global shortage of key resources.
  • Fearing a cold winter without Russian gas, Europeans are rushing to buy solar panels and batteries.
  • This sudden surge in demand, compounded by pre-existing supply chain issues, has led to longer lead times for solar installations.
  • The global shortage of batteries and polysilicon will likely remain until at least 2025, according to producers and researchers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a raft of measures to address South Africa's debilitating energy crisis, including a push for more households to install rooftop solar panels, but Europe's own power problems have added to the surging global demand for batteries and polysilicon.

South Africa's prolonged energy crisis has been described as the biggest risk to the country's economy. Eskom's consistent failure to meet the country's energy needs has led to increasingly worse bouts of load shedding, leaving South Africans "justifiably frustrated and angry," according to President Ramaphosa.

"The crisis that we are facing requires that we should take bold, courageous, and decisive action to close the electricity gap," said Ramaphosa.

"This is a call for all South Africans to be part of the solution, to contribute in whatever way they can to ending energy scarcity in South Africa."

Ramaphosa's 10-point power crisis plan includes scrapping the licensing threshold of 100MW, Eskom buying more electricity from existing independent power producers, importing power from Botswana and Zambia, and doubling the amount of renewable generation capacity procured through Bid Window 6.

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