Daystar Power Launches in South Africa

June 13, 2023
Daystar Power

We're thrilled to announce our entry into South Africa, marking a significant milestone in our mission to bring clean energy to the continent. We also take great pleasure in introducing Wendy Green as the new country head, whose expertise and leadership will play a vital role in driving our efforts to provide affordable, reliable, and clean power solutions to businesses in the country.

As the most industrialized economy on the continent, South Africa finds itself grappling with a debilitating electricity crisis. Our aim is to fill this critical gap by offering hybrid solar energy solutions to businesses that are currently relying on costly diesel generators to cope with frequent blackouts. 

Join us as we delve into Wendy's extensive background in the renewable energy industry, gaining valuable insights into her remarkable expertise. Furthermore, given the urgent need to adopt renewable resources in the country, we'll explore the innovative approaches and solutions that Daystar Power will employ to meet this pressing demand. 

Wendy Green's illustrious background within the renewable energy industry

With more than 15 years of experience, Wendy Green brings a strong track record in South Africa’s renewable energy industry. She has worked for blue-chip South African companies like Exxaro, Sappi and Sasol contributing to their energy transition strategies and initiatives.

Her career in renewables took off while she was a management consultant at MAC Consulting. Her primary focus was assisting Exxaro Resources, one of South Africa’s largest coal mining companies, in setting up an energy and carbon management program. This program aimed to integrate energy efficiency, energy generation and sustainable practices into Exxaro’s business decisions by looking at the three critical areas of energy security, energy cost and carbon footprint.

Although she has many feathers in her cap, Wendy considers her involvement in driving Exxaro’s transition from coal to renewable energy, through Cennergi, as one of her most significant achievements.

Under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) program, Wendy led the Cennergi team in submitting five Independent Power Producer (IPP) proposals to the government, aiming to sell the clean energy they generated to the grid. Of the five proposals, two large-scale wind farms were accepted, signifying a breakthrough in the adoption of renewable energy in South Africa. Both the 140MW Amakhala Emoyeni and 94MW Tsitsikamma Community wind farms are operational today.

Wendy also partnered with Sappi in developing the 25MW Ngodwana Biomass Project for REIPPP from project initiation through to financial close.

Shifting her focus from development to procurement,  Wendy supported Sasol in its move to decarbonization, overseeing their Private Procurement Program (PPP) of nearly 1GW, both for decarbonization and green hydrogen — the largest deal of its kind in South Africa. 

Looking back on her journey in renewables, Wendy finds the most fulfilling moments in her career stem from the opportunities she had to support organizations in new endeavors, as well as in making a meaningful, positive impact on both communities and the environment through clean energy solutions.

South Africa’s improving renewable energy landscape

The landscape of renewable energy in South Africa has undergone significant changes in recent years, driven by a newfound urgency fueled by prolonged power cuts from Eskom, the state-owned power utility. The frequent and disruptive "load shedding" has had a significant impact on South African businesses, leading to increased operating costs and declining margins. 

South Africa, once heavily reliant on fossil fuels, has recognized the imperative to diversify its energy mix and embrace alternative and more reliable sources of power. In an effort to decarbonize and reduce dependence on coal, the South African government has made significant strides to facilitate the adoption of renewable energy over the last decade, including:

  1. Introduction of the highly acclaimed Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). This program, recognized as the most successful private-public partnership in Africa, has procured over 6GW of renewable energy (wind, solar PV, solar CSP and biomass) since 2010.  

  1. Shifts in licensing regarding embedded generation by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA). Previously, all power plants exceeding 1 MW required a license for distributed energy generation. However, NERSA has removed this threshold, enabling the construction of power plants under 100 MW without the need for a license. This alteration simplifies the process of meeting energy demands and enables the sale of surplus power to the grid.

  1. Adoption of “wheeling and dealing.” This approach effectively reduces the cost of energy and expands the market for renewable energy installations. Companies across South Africa have embraced wheeling, enabling businesses to procure from utility scale projects and use the Eskom transmission network to deliver to their site.  Municipalities are also now enabling generators to supply excess energy to the grid. 

Although these renewable energy initiatives are significant stepping stones, there is still much work to be done in order to effectively address the vulnerabilities and limitations of the traditional energy infrastructure. Daystar Power's entry into the South African market aims to expedite the country's ability to meet the increasing demand for renewable energy.

Our solution for South Africa

Energy security and cost certainty are crucial for businesses in South Africa. To address these needs, embedded hybrid solar systems present a compelling solution. 

While pursuing wheeling projects is an appealing prospect, there are crucial factors to consider. Firstly, if the grid experiences an outage, you won't receive power from your project, compromising reliability.  Secondly, the cost of wheeling is uncertain and can potentially increase by around 20%, as there's no control or clear indication of how it will be managed by the government regulator. This poses a risk when entering into long-term power purchase agreements, as the cost of wheeling could triple, significantly impacting business expenses. 

The energy supply  situation is likely to worsen as the plant performance of the utility’s fleet (Eskom) continues to trend downwards, power stations shut down, load shedding increases and demand grows.  By May 2023, the total GWh load shed had more than doubled that experienced in 2022, and September 2022, on its own, had more load shedding than the entirety of 2020.

In contrast, embedded hybrid solar systems offer businesses the ability to lock in their energy costs. 

These hybrid systems seamlessly integrate with the existing power infrastructure, allowing clients to remain connected to the grid while also providing them with control over their power supply. This ensures stability and predictability, enabling South African businesses to plan and budget effectively for their energy needs. 

And that's where Daystar Power comes into the picture

We're a leading provider of on-site hybrid solar power solutions for large commercial and industrial customers, offering a wide range of options from small systems to megawatt-scale plants. 

With a focus on energy security, the Daystar team designs, installs, operates, and maintains embedded generation projects, seamlessly integrating solar power and battery storage with existing power setups. Our energy systems guarantee 99% uptime, deliver significant cost savings of 10-20%, reduce carbon emissions, and operate with automated control systems and real-time monitoring for optimal performance.

We also handle project financing through long-term contracts or Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), eliminating upfront costs and streamlining the delivery process.

We want to work with you

At Daystar Power, we recognize the urgency with which renewable resources must be embraced and are determined to play a pivotal role in facilitating this transition. We're excited to partner with South African businesses to drive their growth and prosperity, with Wendy leading the charge. 

You can choose between two service options: Solar as a Service (SaaS) for intermittent solar power with cost advantages based on kilowatt/hour tariffs and Power as a Service (PaaS) for continuous power supply with flexible payment options. Regardless of your choice, we'll customize system designs to meet your unique needs, prioritizing reliability and sustainability.

Are you interested in integrating solar into your energy set-up? Get in touch.