SA - SMASMA Solar Technology has announced new plans to open a manufacturing plant in South Africa by 2014 to produce its PVS800 range of central inverters. The company has already secured the supply of a number of units under South Africa’s Utility-Scale PV Program.

The company hopes that opening a factory locally will help them adapt and meet the local requirements for PV inverters. SMA is expecting huge growth in the solar market in South Africa and hopes to increase their sales and service in the region. Already the country is expecting to erect 2 GW’s of solar power plants (estimated to cost around US$2.9 billion) under the South African Department of Energy (DoE) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP).

Pierre-Pascal Urbon, CEO of SMA Solar Technology said, “South Africa has strategic importance for SMA. The country has good economic growth with a corresponding increase in energy demand. Here, photovoltaics are already a financially attractive alternative to other forms of power generation. With the opening of our sales and service office in Centurion last year, we have successfully launched in the rapidly growing South African market. The planned production for central inverters enables us to meet the local content requirements and thus to profit from the expected future growth of the South African market.”

The manufacturing plant is expected to have a capacity of 500MWs and will be operating on SMA’s flexible manufacturing approach. The Sunny Central PV inverters are specially made for multi-megawatt power stations and will range from 100kw’s to 1000Kw’s.

As reported earlier this year, SMA is in the process of being purchased by ABB who has been in the solar industry since the early 1990’s. With a head office in Germany, SMA is also represented in 21 countries and growing. They are currently the second largest manufacturer of solar inverters in the world.