Spanish solar tracker and structures specialist Array STI Norland has, since the start of October, established an active presence in South Africa, which it views as an attractive market for utility scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.
An office and warehouse facility is established in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape, and Array STI Norland South Africa is headed by Duncan Palmer, who has been appointed as CEO.
Palmer tells Engineering News that the company, which is headquartered in Pamplona, Spain, has already supplied structures to South African projects, including the 94.3 MWp Sishen Photovoltaic Plant in the Northern Cape.
The decision to invest in a standalone office, initially supported from Spain, was made early in 2020, but due to the onset of Covid-19, the South African unit began operating formally on October 1.
The South African unit will focus on PV projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa with the aim of reducing logistics costs and lead times.
In South Africa, however, meeting the local-content requirements of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) is a key objective, that has been reached by Array STI Norland through the establishment of the Array STI Norland South Africa office.
Array STI Norland, which has manufacturing operations in Spain and Brazil, and can mainly supply from Brazil, China, India, as well as for many other countries, does not intend to establish its own manufacturing facility in South Africa. Instead, Palmer says the group will tap into existing manufacturing infrastructure, as the expertise and capacity already exist.
“Steel is the largest component in Array STI Norland dual-row solar trackers and local manufacturing will reduce logistic lead times and costs to the continent while supporting local job creation”.
“We will provide tooling, quality management and support the production process, while motors and controllers will be imported”, Palmer outlines.
While many of the initial solar PV projects built under the REIPPPP incorporated fixed-tilt structures, by Bid Window 4 (BW4) all the projects had adopted tracker solutions in a bid to improve the economics of the solar farms.
The recent gazetting, by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, of a ministerial determination opening the way for the procurement of more than 11 800 MW of new electricity capacity, is expected to facilitate the launch of BW 5 before the end of January 2021.
The determination includes and allocation of 2 000 MW of solar PV for the coming three years.
“We will be tendering on BW 5 projects – it’s a core focus,” Palmer says.
About Array STI Norland
Array STI Norland is an international manufacturer of solar trackers and fixed structures for utility-scale PV projects. Established in 1996, it offers engineering, supply and installation services. Array STI Norland developed the first dual-row solar tracker on the market, specially designed for uneven terrains and where the orography has significant changes in gradient.
In January 2022, Array Technologies acquired STI Norland, strengthening supply chains and international expansion.
About Array Technologies, Inc.
Array Technologies (NASDAQ: ARRY) is a leading American company and global provider of utility-scale solar tracker technology. Engineered to withstand the harshest conditions on the planet, Array’s high-quality solar trackers and sophisticated software maximize energy production, accelerating the adoption of cost-effective and sustainable energy. Founded and headquartered in the United States, Array relies on its diversified global supply chain and customer-centric approach to deliver, commission and support solar energy developments around the world, lighting the way to a brighter, smarter future for clean energy. For more news and information on Array, please visit arraytechinc.com.
Head of Marketing (Array STI Norland)