The Solar Training Centre develops programs for all of Africa

The Solar-Training Centre of SUNCybernetics, in collaboration with the NGO Sustainable Energy Africa, hosted a training program focused on South African utilities for both local and international utilities and regulatory authorities.

The first two trainings took place at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and further sessions were held at the CSIR in Pretoria, with 50 participants each. The attendees were local government officials from various utilities (municipalities) across South Africa. The training covered aspects such as distributed generation (DG), its benefits for the country like job creation, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, dealing with power outages (load shedding), how DG can impact the national grid, and how to process and approve DG in their network in a sustainable way. It also covered concepts like setting up export tariffs and installing the correct bidirectional meter to compensate consumers who want to feed their green solar energy into the grid.

According to GIZ, a key training funder, this training and capacity building programme is one of their best and most impactful programmes in Africa. The impact SUNCybernetics and Sustainable Energy Africa was making in South Africa, was so profound and effective, that Germany based GET.transform, supported by GIZ, wanted to roll out the same training and capacity building model out to other African Countries. The first cohort of 6 countries included Namibia, Uganda, Madagascar, Mozambique Lesotho and Eswatini. There is a potential for this programme to roll out soon to 10 African Countries in total.

The training for the African Countries, focused more on developing a draft template regulation for distributed generation as well as utility requirements for DG to connect to their respective grids. The training was quite challenging, as the existing grid codes, regulations, stakeholders, approaches and even their languages were different. Translation services had to be used for the first time to effectively communicate and convey the same message. The training was still well received and the hope is that other African Countries will be able to capitalise on their new knowledge and capabilities to open the market for DG in a sustainable way.

Feedback from International DG Training

“I commend you for the support given to the various countries; while addressing the real issues and following up (each training session is a build up to the next step) The continuous efforts to get feedback and needs of each country tailor made, ensure relevance of all content The daily recap of principles in a fun interactive way is invaluable for the participants” –