ABB to make inverters in South Africa

Power technology group ABB will start producing PV inverters in South Africa, in another recognition of the country’s growing status as a solar market.

Zurich-based ABB will open a new inverter line at an existing production plant in Johannesburg in 2014.

It will turn out ABB’s PVS800 range of central inverters, with a production capacity of about 500MW annually.

The plant adds to ABB’s existing inverter facilities in Estonia, India and China.

ABB is already embedded in the South African solar market, which has gathered pace thanks to support from the government in renewable energy tender rounds.

It says it has built up an inverter pipeline of about 90MW in the country.

Earlier this month ABB bagged a $25m order to supply electrical and control systems, including inverters, to the 75MW Kathu PV array in the Northern Cape.

Ulrich Spiesshofer, head of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division, said: “The region’s energy needs are set to grow with economic expansion, and with South Africa looking to benefit from its abundance of sunshine we will be in an even better position to serve our local customers.”

In April ABB signalled its wider ambitions in the inverter market by agreeing to pay $1bn for US group Power One, global number-two in the sector.

That transaction is due to close in the second half of the year.