Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System, a solar product manufacturer, has announced to open 500 MW solar cell factory in the Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The cell factory based in Coega Industrial Development Zone will be the first in the African continent. In August 2018, it had also inaugurated a 300 MW module plant in South Africa.

The new factory is co-developed by Seraphim and Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and will begin commercial operation in Q3 2019.

The company believes that expanding global production capacity will help it to mitigate against the unpredictable tariffs levied on Chinese manufacturers.

“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. We are glad to cooperate again with IDC, a professional and reliable local partner”, said Polaris Li, President of Seraphim.

David Nunez Blundell, co-founder of Seraphim Southern Africa said, “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.”

Seraphin has also announced to establish a 200 MW half-cell module assembly expansion in Eastern Cape.

This is a welcome development for the solar industry in South Africa which has of late become a hotspot for investors in renewable energy sector. Many solar power projects are under development in the country which still has millions of households which are yet to be electrified.

Recently, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a senior loan of ZAR 3 billion (~$220.3 million) to the 100 MW Redstone concentrated solar power project. The project is located in the Humansrus Solar Park, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and is expected to generate 466 GWh/year.

In July 2018, the International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power) had announced that it will soon begin the construction of a 100 MW solar project in South Africa.