Renewable energies and energy efficiency for a greener future

Project description

Title: South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN)
Commisioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: Department of Energy (DoE)
Partner: Department of Energy (DoE), South African Local Government Association (SALGA); national power utility Eskom
Overall term: 2018 to 2021

South Africa. Wind turbines. © GIZ


Faced by electricity shortages and increasing energy prices, South Africa has given high political priority to the expansion of renewable energies and the implementation of energy efficiency. This is reflected in dedicated policies, strategies and support schemes. However, implementation of these national policies require support. 

Notable advances in the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment have been made, but further improvements are still needed, both with regard to framework conditions and their actual implementing. For example, in the field of renewable energies, the potential of small, decentralised generators like rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations is not being adequately exploited. On the energy efficiency side, investment is below its potential and support funds available to potential private and public investors are not always fully utilised. Programme activities address these challenges.


Conditions affecting public and private investment in renewable energies and energy efficiency as well as the implementation processes have improved.


The South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN) supports the Department of Energy (DoE), the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), selected municipalities, the national power utility Eskom and other partners in improving strategies and programmes to enhance the uptake of renewable energies and energy efficiency. The focus is on improving the underlying conditions and putting existing strategies and support mechanisms into effect. SAGEN helps on these improvements on a national level, provincial and municipal level. 

The programme provides the international know-how to Eskom and municipalities to ensure the smooth integration of renewables into the grid, both for large-scale projects and rooftop PV installations based on international experience and best practices. SAGEN also assists municipalities to put in place the necessary approval processes for rooftop PV systems in their distribution grids or helps them identify and implement energy efficiency investment to save energy.


The national procurement scheme for renewable energies; supported by the SAGEN programme on topics such as grid integration of renewables, has so far resulted in the procurement of power generation facilities with a combined capacity of over 6,000 megawatts (MW) by private sector providers. Of this, new generating capacity of roughly 4,000 MW has already been added to the grid. Operating these facilities reduces South Africa’s CO2 emissions by more than 10 million tonnes per year. Publications from the DoE note that the total investment leveraged is almost 200 billion South African Rand (ZAR) (approximately 13 billion Euros). 

Private and commercial rooftop PV installation increased from approximately 30 MW in 2014 to more than 300 MW in 2018. SAGEN supports municipalities in setting up the necessary application and approval processes. The support of SAGEN in the introduction of the quality label for PV installation, the PV GreenCard, contributes to the objective of the PV industry to ensure quality and assist in the sustainable development of the market. So far more than 50 companies have subscribed to the PV GreenCard scheme.

Under a national support scheme for municipalities, more than 90 municipalities have already introduced energy efficiency measures. These measures include energy efficient street lighting, energy management and the retrofitting of public buildings. The energy efficiency measures introduced with the support of the SAGEN programme have reduced the country’s energy consumption by more than 200 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. 

Further Information