Use solar to power SA: Greenpeace

2011-02-04 11:56

Johannesburg - International lobby group Greenpeace has urged South Africa to adopt more renewable energy as part of its energy mix and to help create more jobs in the process.

On Friday the group said that a new study projects solar investment to double by 2015 as costs, which are already sliding, are expected to drop by a further 40%.

It is punting the benefits of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology which it said provides clean, efficient and economical energy.

In South Africa, Greenpeace says the technology could help create up to 78 000 jobs by 2030.

Greenpeace, together with the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), has published a new report called Solar Generation 6, which it said shows how global investments in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology could double from €35bn to €40bn today to over €70bn in 2015.

The report foresees that PV alone could account for 12% of European power by 2020, and up to 9% of the global power demand by 2030.

"Our goal is to make solar photovoltaic technology a mainstream power source through policy support at an optimal cost for consumers" said Sven Teske, Senior Energy Expert at Greenpeace International.

The report shows that PV creates 35 to 50 jobs per tonne of CO2 savings.

Greenpeace Africa made similar findings last year, it said.

"Investing in renewable energy could be a major employment creator in South Africa, with a net increase of 78 000 jobs by 2030," it said.

It said the report's findings showed that even when compared to a utopian "growth without constraints" scenario, the benefits of renewables are clear, creating 5% more jobs and offering a solution to South Africa which still needs to expand electricity provision.

"South Africa is blessed with some of the best solar resources in the world, and yet more than 90% of the country's electricity comes from dirty coal. To avoid being left behind, South Africa must start investing in renewable energy now - the future is indeed solar," said Greenpeace Africa climate campaigner Melita Steele.

Since 2005, PV prices have dropped about 40% and by 2015 the cost of PV systems is expected to fall by an additional 40% compared to current levels, the report said.

Read more on:    greenpeace  |  co2 emissions  |  solar energy

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