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Green economy guru named solar PV body CEO

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Dr Rethabile Melamu has been appointed as SAPVIA CEO.
Dr Rethabile Melamu has been appointed as SAPVIA CEO.

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) has appointed Dr Rethabile Melamu as CEO, effective immediately.

A chemical and environmental engineer by training, Melamu has become renowned for her international expertise in the green economy and energy sectors, says the renewable energy industry body in a statement.

It notes she has leveraged both theoretical and practical lessons to harness innovative smart technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change in society, with a dedicated focus on African sustainable development.

According to SAPVIA, Melamu also brings on-the-ground experience developing sub-national energy, green economy and public sector strategies and policies from inception to implementation.

It adds that Melamu was recognised most recently as one of the “women who are changing SA in the public sector”.

Melamu’s private and public sector technical and strategic leadership experience is sure to be an asset to SAPVIA, as the association charts a path to continue growing the solar PV sector’s role in SA’s energy future, in collaboration with government, the private sector and other stakeholders, it notes.

“As we celebrate a decade of solar in SA, it is fitting that we have at the helm of the association a driven, experienced and powerful advocate for renewable energy,” says Wido Schabel, SAPVIA chairperson.

“Dr Melamu comes to SAPVIA with an outstanding track record of delivery. She will lead the organisation into a new era of growth, focusing our strategic direction and ensuring our members capitalise on the local and regional solar markets.

“Dr Melamu’s experience and insight will ensure we take SAPVIA and solar PV in SA to the next level, developing a culture of thought leadership, leveraging credible market intelligence and curating a best practice solar PV value chain.”

Melamu was most recently general manager of green economy at The Innovation Hub, where she managed a portfolio of 40 green economy start-ups that develop and commercialise clean-tech solutions and technologies that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as the creation of much-needed employment opportunities.

She was also acting chief director for sector and industry development at the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, where she led the development of 11 economic sector strategies to ensure the province was transformed, modernised and re-industrialised.

In her time at the department, Melamu also spearheaded engagement with private and public sectors, locally and internationally, to stimulate the growth of the green economy in Gauteng.

“I am delighted to take on the role of CEO and I have no doubt that unlocking largely untapped renewable energy capacity can catalyse the implementation of the country’s sustainable development imperatives, invigorate industrial activity, and deliver meaningful socio-economic value to its citizens,” says Melamu.

“As a trusted partner to government, I foresee SAPVIA and key stakeholders increasingly contributing towards the creation of conducive business and regulatory environments that will unlock market opportunities along the solar PV value chain for the benefit of SAPVIA’s members and the broader sector.”

SAPVIA is a member-led organisation formed with the purpose of growing the solar PV sector’s role in powering SA’s future.

The association advocates, engages and influences on behalf of members to harness the power of solar PV and capitalise on the opportunities it offers companies, individuals and the broader South African economy.

“Solar PV should play a leading role in the just transition, not least because it can be adapted and harnessed for individual households across SA, for large commercial and industrial usage and everything in between,” comments Maloba G Tshehla, SAPVIA spokesperson.

“It is vital that we highlight the potential of solar PV to deliver sustainable and secure electricity for all, and I have no doubt that Dr Melamu’s experience and energy will ensure we do so in the years ahead.”

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