During the first half of 2023, South Africa quadrupled its imports of solar panels from China to 3.4 GW, which at peak production corresponds to the total production capacity of some power plants belonging to the country’s public company.
China’s photovoltaic power exports increased by a third, reaching 114 GW in the first six months of the year, according to a study by Ember, a British energy think tank.
Europe is the largest importer, accounting for more than half (52.5%), but the fastest growth in imports is in Africa and the Middle East. South Africa is the main driver of the growth of imports into Africa which have increased by more than 50%.
South Africa is the main driver of growth in imports of Chinese solar panels into Africa (which have more than doubled, with an increase of 187%).
The country also recorded the second-highest increase (438%), or percentage growth, in imports after Europe.
_”Over the past 12 months, South Africa imported 4 GW of solar panels from China, which would produce electricity _ equivalent to about 3% of its annual demand,” the report reads.
The report also cites “frequent load shedding,” or planned power outages, which can reach up to 12 hours per day without electricity, as a contributing factor to the increase in solar installations.