In a special 2019 series, Compelo is shining a spotlight on South Africa. Here we take a closer look at some of the organisations in Cape Town attempting to enable the proliferation of clean power

solar power (treetops

South Africa is home to a vast portfolio of solar projects (Credit: Treetops)

Cape Town has set an ambitious goal of having renewable power account for 20% of its energy mix by 2020, which a number of companies will likely prove instrumental in achieving.

The South African city, which has a higher population than the country’s capital Johannesburg, faces more than a few bumps in the road if it is to reach its target by next year.

Its energy executive director Kadri Nassiep said: “Renewable energy penetration is on the increase but is not as fast as we would like it to be.

“The independent power producer [IPP] procurement process has been fraught with regulatory and policy issues.

“Cape Town has abundant wind and solar photovoltaic resources, but we need to overcome regulatory and political barriers to raise our numbers significantly.”

But working in its favour are firms such as GreenCape and Juwi, which aim to make clean power the norm – here we take a closer look at how they are planning on doing that.


Renewable energy companies in South Africa

Phelan Energy Group

Based in northwestern Cape Town, Phelan Energy Group is a renewable energy supplier, founded in 2005, with additional offices in Dublin, New Delhi, Dhaka, Buenos Aires, Sydney and the Middle East.

Its main area of business is solar photovoltaic solutions and it claims to be committed to achieving the “lowest-cost solar power products”.

The company is actively developing solar projects in 12 International markets, and claims to have installed 175 megawatts (MW) of clean power across South Africa.

Phelan Energy is also in the midst of installing 250MW in the Middle East and Asia, and is reportedly on the path to establishing a pipeline of more than 2,000MW across the globe.

The total value of its Power Sales Agreements with various government-owned power utilities stands at more than €3bn (£2.6bn).



Juwi Renewable Energies is a Cape Town-based subsidiary of the international Juwi Group, one of the world’s most productive renewable energy companies with a focus on solar and onshore wind power generation.

Its various services span project development, engineering, procurement and construction, and operations and maintenance, as well as off-grid hybrid solar energy storage solutions.

The company has five utility-scale solar plants in its construction portfolio to-date, making for a total capacity of more than 120MW, which it worked on with the Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme.

Juwi also develops and bids for wind projects through the programme, and has more recently become a member of the Government’s Small Independent Power Producer (IPP) Programme.

Primarily serving commercial and industrial clients, the firm also constructs embedded solar photovoltaic projects.



Based in Cape Town, GreenCape is a non-profit organisation “drive the widespread adoption of economically viable green economy solutions” in South Africa’s Western Cape region.

It accounts for more than 6,300MW of installed renewable energy capacity in the area, and almost 3,000MW of generation capacity tied to the national grid.

More than £10bn of investment in the clean power space has been accrued as a result of the group’s work, 25% of which comes from overseas.

GreenCape has also contributed to the ongoing fall in winder energy tariffs in South Africa which have seen prices decreased by more than 70%.

Over the next five years, the company aims to drive the uptake of green economy infrstructure solutions among the developing world, specifically.



Run by a father and daughter team, Treetops claims to be the leading system integrator for renewable power in Cape Town, specialising in solar photovoltaic systems and electricity supply for homes and businesses.

The company, founded as one of the first solar companies in Cape Town almost ten years ago, has gone on to establish an installed generation capacity of more than 2,500KW.

It supports this with more than 1,700 kilowatt hours (KWh) of battery storage, which it has sold domestically as well as to neighbouring countries such as Malawi.