Microgrids or minigrids, small-scale power networks that can operate independently of the national grid, in SA are stepping in where big power utilities fail to. The global microgrid market reached a value of $15.3bn in 2016 and is expected to grow to over $30bn by 2022, with a rate of return of about 12% over this time. According to a report by leading market research company IMARC Group, in SA, which has the highest energy demand in sub-Saharan Africa, Sola Future Energy is one of the companies leading the charge. After completing the design and construction of a microgrid on Robben Island in 2017, the company was called in for a proposed microgrid for a mall in Clanwilliam, in the Western Cape, which was left in the lurch by Eskom. The Cedar Mill Mall was launched amid much fanfare last month and is expected to create 300 jobs and become a hub of economic activity for the area. Chris Haw, chairman of Sola Future Energy, says he believes the project could well become the poster ch...

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