Bright solar tech entrepreneurs make a mark in South Africa’s Silicon Valley

An invention by South African scientist Vivian Alberts that replaces expensive silicon used in photovoltaic solar panels promises to make solar energy more affordable than ever. It’s a thin-film photovoltaic coating for glass that uses no silicon at all.

Alberts announced his discovery in 2007. Now he is poised to build an industrial-scale factory to make thin-film solar modules for the burgeoning solar power market in South Africa and elsewhere.

That’s not the only new solar tech to come out of Stellenbosch, South Africa’s Silicon Valley — as Jeffrey Barbee recounts in his Daily Maverick article “Africa’s Only Solar Panel Manufacturer Shines Brightly.”

South Africa is among the top five fastest-growing renewable energy markets. And South African innovations such as thin-film solar modules and a tracking system used by international solar company Soitec at the Touwsrivier solar plant in Western Cape are grabbing international industry attention.