Seraphim to open Africa’s first 500 MW PV cell plant
Serpahim has announced the inauguration of a new 500 MW solar cell factory in the Coega Industrial Development Zone of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, along with 200MW half-cell module assembly expansion in Eastern Cape. This new cell factory will be the first in the African continent.
This is another step forward for Seraphim’s goal of expanding global production capacity, previously opening a 300 MW module plant in South Africa this past August. The new expansions will bolster Seraphim’s manufacturing supply chain in South Africa by directly supporting its growing module assembly plant already operating in Eastern Cape since last summer.
The new factory equipment plans are a critical element in Seraphim’s globalization strategy to mitigate against unpredictable tariffs levied on Chinese manufacturers. The new factory and expansion is co-developed by both Seraphim and Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), and will begin commercial operation in Q3 2019.
Seraphim have developed expertise in cell manufacturing since opening their first plant in Zhejiang province of China in 2015 and shall support the South African factory by sending their seasoned technical team to South Africa to accelerate construction and commissioning of equipment and to train local employees.
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“We have continuously received purchase orders for modules from our 300MW factory in South Africa since it reached full production in September; building our own cell plant in South Africa is the ideal way to support our customer base by optimizing our production and reducing lead times” commented Polaris Li, President of Seraphim. “We are glad to cooperate again with IDC, a professional and reliable local partner. This new factory will strengthen mutual interests and optimize prosperity for our stakeholders.”
“We are very excited about the opportunities that this new cell factory opens up for our operations in South Africa”, said David Nunez Blundell, co-founder of Seraphim Southern Africa. “This plant will be the first of its kind in Africa, and shall be a stepping stone towards the consolidation of a strong vertically-integrated operation that will see additional investments materializing in the near future. Together with the module assembly expansion, it will launch Seraphim into a new stage of evolution, strengthening our value proposition to clients in the South African and exports markets.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.