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SME mission to South Africa: Call for ‘Expressions of Interest’

Small and medium sized UK businesses (SMEs) innovating in the power sector – including solar, storage, smart grids, electric vehicle infrastructure and other clean tech – are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to join a mission to South Africa in order to build partnerships and showcase their expertise. Energy Systems Catapult has already been working on a project in South Africa in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), energy utility Eskom and Sustainable Energy Africa – with the trip planned for Monday 30th March – Friday 3rd April 2020.

CLICK HERE: Submit an Expression of Interest to join SME mission to South Africa


As the second largest economy in Africa, with a population of over 58 million, South Africa’s energy resources are a crucial issue in the country. South Africa’s energy sector lacks diversity, as the country currently produces 80% of its electricity using coal and as a result it is one of the 15 largest emitters of CO2 worldwide. However, the deteriorating operational performance of the national electricity system, increasing electricity prices and falling cost for renewable generation provides significant potential in energy efficiency and to increase the share of renewable energy in country’s energy mix. As highlighted in South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), small-scale embedded generation will play an increasing role in the future electricity system. Their carbon pricing system, support for energy efficiency and demand side management, coupled with the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), has seen South Africa become an attractive country for entrepreneurs and investors. In June 2018, the Independent Power Producer Office reported that the total investment in REIPPPP projects was Rand 201 billion (~£11bn), of which Rand 48.7 billion (~£2.5bn) originated from foreign investors and financiers.

About the programme

Energy Systems Catapult has been working in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), energy utility Eskom and Sustainable Energy Africa to deliver a solar project funded by the Newton Fund, aimed at helping South Africa municipalities and electricity distributors to better understand the prosumer business case for rooftop PV deployment, and to assess the impact of these installations on South African distribution networks. In collaboration with the city of Cape Town and the power distributors, we have developed a tariff design tool to help improve cost recovery while supporting cross-subsidies which benefit fuel-poor consumers. The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 17 active partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable and equitable growth.

Who should apply

UK small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) innovating in the electricity sector and interested in entering the South African market are encouraged to submit an application to join a mission to South Africa 30th March – 3rd April 2020. Up to five SMEs will be selected by an expert panel and must qualify under the following criteria:

  • Must be a UK registered business
  • Must be an SME as defined by the European Commission
  • Must be innovating in one of these areas:
    • Power & Electricity
    • Solar
    • Energy Storage
    • Smart Grid
    • Clean Technologies
    • Electrical Vehicles Infrastructure

What’s included

The exact itinerary will be confirmed closer the time, but selected businesses can expect the following:

  • Return flight tickets to South Africa, as well as domestic flights if necessary
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Facilitation of meetings to engage and build relationships with South African counterparts and explore opportunities for collaboration, innovation and joint projects in low-carbon energy

How to apply

  • UK SMEs and innovators active in the energy sectors (above) are invited: Submit an Expression of Interest.
  • Please note: The mission is timed to coincide with the Solar Show Africa in Johannesburg 31st March – 1st April, which provides an opportunity for you to meet and network with South African sustainable energy professionals. SMES who are selected will be required to fund their own delegate passes to the Solar Show Africa.
Expressions of Interest close at

 midday Friday 14th February 2020. Successful applicants will be informed by 28th February. More information  click here

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