11 February 2015



How Hybrid Solar Solutions can Reduce Costs for Intensive Energy Users






Mr. Dick Berlijn , CEO of SubSolar, a South African project development company explains, “At this moment every energy user in SA is faced with 3 different issues: current, massive load shedding, increasing prices of electricity, and organizational issue with municipalities reselling electricity. Energy users are best off looking for alternative energy solutions, such as solar or hybrid to secure a stable, sustainable and competitive electricity supply.

Front-running companies have already spotted the huge potential that lies within sub-saharan Africa and have been active in the market for many years. This is the case of SMA Sunbelt Energy, whose Head of Global Hybrid Hubs, Fabian Jochem , explains “Our Sunny Island solution, ideal to overcome blackouts, has a brilliant track records of 10.000+ installations worldwide. When it comes to larger systems, we use the Fuel Save Controller. The largest PV-Diesel hybrid system that has been commissioned so far in the world is a 5 MW PV + 2,2 MW Li-Ion Batteries on a 10 MW diesel genset off-grid and it uses our technology.

Interest for solar applications is reciprocal and comes from mines as well. Shane Hunter , part of the Owners Team at Firestone Diamonds, an international mining company with operations in South Africa and Botswana, expresses, “In terms of creating our own energy source,  we are investigating smaller scale solar installations for the open-pit lighting and other peripheral items in the mines .”

In the absence of a modern reliable regional power grid, various mining companies have installed up to 20 MW of diesel power as standby for load shedding, which cost them far more than any solar or hybrid installation.

Research by THEnergy, a consulting firm, revealed diesel price in Africa is highly variable and strongly influenced by three main factors: transport, theft and taxes. In many cases, the retail diesel price makes up for less than 50% of the total fuel price, and PV electricity in remote locations can cost 50-60% less than diesel electricity.

This doesn’t apply only to mining companies, but is true for all intensive energy users in sub-saharan Africa. IHS, Africa's leading independent mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider, recently opened Africa’s largest solar powered cell site for mobile phone operators. They calculated that simply replacing diesel generators with solar panels can cut the monthly cost of operating masts by almost one-third, and the long-term plan is to have 90% of IHS’ 900 mobile towers in Africa powered by solar energy.

Solar/Diesel Africa is a unique deal-making event that connects 20+ intensive African energy users eager to reduce their fuel consumption with 100+ international hybrid solar solution providers, financiers, investors and other stakeholders looking to realize cost-saving projects with mines and other high energy consuming industries. This unique event will take place March 4 at the Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg. Registration is open now at

Attend Solar/Diesel Africa if you are ready to:

- Meet and network with prospective customers joining the conference to put an end to their excessive and volatile energy bill;
- Show your industry expertise and discuss the products and services your company can offer;
- Acquire contacts, expand your African network, build long-lasting international business relations;
- Get a deep understanding of the African solar market
- Get a full understanding of your customers needs by hearing from 20+ intensive energy industries about conditions and technical specifications of the services they need to reduce




The Solar/Diesel Conference will take place on 4th March 2015 at the Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg (South Africa). Registration is now open at:

Stay on top of the global solar market by joining one of our upcoming events.