South African solar tracker receives international certification


Solar tracking system manufacturer PiA Solar is now the first, in both the southern hemisphere and in Africa, to qualify for the international design standard IEC 62817 certification.

In order to qualify for the certification PiA Solar built a climate test chamber in Port Elizabeth, where certification was undertaken by the TUV Rheinland South Africa office in partnership with the company’s German headquarters. 

“This certification process has opened the doors for the international certification of trackers in South Africa,” said TUV Rheinland regional manager for the Eastern and Western Cape Kobie Coertze.

With the systems in place, it would fast-track the certification of the next generation of trackers, he added.

Further, the certification has opened up opportunities for the export of the technology globally, founder and MD Colin Muller said in a statement on Tuesday.

The demand for solar tracking for utility-scale and large-scale solar power plants was growing owing to the trackers increasing the yield from the solar farms by up to 25%, depending on the location, he explained.

“More importantly, the plant starts generating maximum power earlier in the morning, and then later into the afternoon until the last rays of the sun have disappeared. With static installations there is peak power only at mid-day,” Muller commented, adding that the trackers were also increasingly being used by businesses.

PiA’s trackers will be installed in five of the new solar farms licensed in Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) Round 4, and is short-listed for another three.

This, Muller said, meant that the company had the potential to be involved in eight of the 12 REIPPPP Round 4 projects.

“Combined with the installations already done by PiA Solar in South Africa and the rest of Africa, the new round will mean that we will pass the gigawatt milestone, making us a significant international supplier of utility-scale solar mounting equipment,” he said. 

The latest range of PiA Solar trackers is currently being tested at the company’s development and test facility in Sardinia Bay.


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