STERG Technical Tour 2019

From the 8th to 12th of July 2019, STERG embarked on its first technical tour since 2017.  The tour is aimed at giving students unique access to renewable energy generation plants in South Africa, with a focus on concentrating solar power (CSP).  In collaboration with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), a group of 22 Master’s and PhD students, accompanied by professors and academic staff, travelled from Stellenbosch to the Northern Cape.

STERG delegation at Bokpoort CSP plant – a 50 MW parabolic trough plant

The plants visited include CSP parabolic trough (Xina solar one, Bokpoort CSP), CSP power tower (Khi solar one), photovoltaic (Scatec solar) and a concentrated solar power plant (Touws River CPV).  Some of the plants were still in construction and others have been in operation for some time, presenting students with different perspectives of the industry.  The tour allows students to see these power stations first-hand and engage in discussions with operators and engineers, which is something that the general public does not have access to.

The tour was an overall success, and it continues to promote a good relationship with the renewable energy industry.

We would like to thank our hosts at each power plant for making the time to accommodate such a large group and answering all our eager questions.  Thank you to the CRSES for sponsoring part of the costs of the tour.

We look forward to the next tour in 2020!

SASEC 2018 2nd Call for Abstracts

The 5TH Southern African Solar Energy Conference (SASEC 2018) will be held from 25 to 27 June 2018 at the Blue Waters Hotel in Durban, South Africa. The conference will focus on both Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Thermal Energy technology systems and applications. The conference provides the opportunity for researchers, engineers, technologists and individuals to share and discuss recent developments in the field. It is a particularly good opportunity for postgraduate students to showcase their research progress, network and develop knowledge of solar energy technologies.

Abstracts are due on the 22nd January 2018.

See further details here

STERG Technical Tour 2017

The STERG Technical Tour Group at the Khi Solar Plant (Photo Courtesy of Frank Duvenhage)

The 3rd STERG Technical Tour took place from the 3rd to 7th July 2017 and gave students the opportunity to visit renewable energy generation plants. Students from Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of Pretoria (UP) joined the tour this year, extending STERG’s collaboration with other universities in South Africa. The group of 28 Master’s and PhD students, as well as professors and academic staff, visited several power plants in operation or under construction around Upington in the Northern Cape. The visited plants include concentrated solar power plants (Khi Solar One, Bokpoort, Kathu Solar Park and Ilanga), a photovoltaic plant (Sishen PV) and a concentrated photovoltaic plant (Touws River CPV). The students had the unique opportunity to see large-scale power plants in person and to learn more about the various technologies as well as to engage in discussions with the developers and operators of the plants. The tour has been a great success in past years and continued its objective in maintaining good relations with the renewable energy industry.

A big thank you goes to the various companies and individuals at the power plants who helped in making the tour a reality by accommodating the group on site and taking the time out of their daily operations to show them around as well as answering numerous questions from the students. Thanks to the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) which generously sponsored part of the costs.


We look forward to the next tour!



The 5th Annual STERG SOLARPACES Symposium 2017 was held on the 13th and 14th July 2017 at Stellenbosch University. We would like to thank all our sponsors, speakers and attendees! This year the symposium featured a record breaking 38 presentations. STERG’s research presentations were accompanied by presentations by our colleagues from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), the University of Pretoria (UP) as well as the University of Cape Town (UCT). Our guests from industry succeeded in motivating students and provided insight into their challenges and successes in project development, finance, construction and operation.

Presentations are available for download here.