Approximately 30 small businesses in Gauteng are set to benefit from renewable energy solutions, thanks to a collaboration between the Gauteng Economic Development Department and the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA). This follows the department and the NCPC-SA inviting SMEs to apply for the Green Support Incentive Programme.
The programme, which was initiated by the Gauteng government, seeks to install solar photovoltaic (PV) and other solutions to support SMEs that have been affected by the worsening of economic conditions over the past two years. It is particularly for those that are still reeling from the impact of Covid-19 and the July 2021 unrest. The NCPC-SA is a programme managed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and together with the provincial government, will identify and implement suitable recipient projects.
NCPC-SA’s national programme manager, Victor Manavhela, said that the NCPC-SA and the CSIR Energy Centre would assist SMEs primarily within the manufacturing and other energy-intensive sectors. “(The programme) will assist these companies to improve their efficiencies and productivity levels by reducing operating costs and avoiding power outages, whilst adopting greener production measures,” he said.
Manavhela said that since the number of companies that could be assisted was limited by the available funding, the CSIR/NCPC-SA team would identify companies that possessed the potential or had already shown progress in energy efficiencies, thus making them feasible candidates for solar PV and other renewable energy technologies. “This will be achieved by first identifying opportunities for energy efficiency improvements, and then funding or part-funding the installation of suitable technology interventions,” he explained.
Manavhela also said that due to funding limitations, businesses would be supported on a first-come-first-serve basis, so long as the requirements and technical criteria were met. It was also revealed that SMEs owned by youth and women, and those severely affected by load-shedding would be prioritised. “Some of the recipient SMEs will be those that have previously participated in an NCPC-SA energy assessment, where alternative energy was identified as a possible solution,” Manavhela noted.
“SMEs that have not previously undergone an NCPC-SA assessment are being invited to apply through this open process.” SMEs that have a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment level of between one and four in Gauteng may qualify to apply for the programme’s support. Businesses that want to be considered as beneficiaries are invited to complete a pre-selection form on the NCPC-SA website.
Companies that qualify will then be shortlisted and contacted with details on how to apply. They will also be provided with a list of required documents. The application process is open until 15 April, and can be completed on www.ncpc.co.za on or before the closing date.