Thanks to its long sunny days, Upington experiences the ideal level of solar irradiation (power per unit area received from the sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation) for solar energy production. The area enjoys optimal levels of both direct normal irradiance (DNI) and global horizontal irradiance (GHI), providing optimal conditions for a variety of solar energy projects.
The establishment of the Upington SEZ was to a large extent driven by the South African electricity demand and specifically the need to supply power to the Eskom grid using renewable energy sources.
The SEZ also supports the local manufacturing and maintenance of solar components and systems. Incentive packages on offer for investors and tenants in the SEZ will enable them to compete effectively with international suppliers of solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) systems and components.
As both international and local demand for PV systems is expected to increase, possible investment opportunities include PV panel production and assembly, a fully integrated silicon wafer production facility, and the local manufacturing of PV panel frames, lamination materials, wiring, junction boxes and inverters, electronic components and printed circuit boards.
Upington International Airport has a number of characteristics that makes it a particularly favourable location for the establishment of an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility, including its geographic location, long runway (4.9km) and the area’s dry and arid climate. In addition to these characteristics, there is a strong market for the establishment of an MRO and aircraft storage facility in South Africa to serve both the European and African markets.
The ZF Mgcawu district, in which Upington is situated, is well known for producing export-quality grapes, citrus, dates and other fruits, providing many investment opportunities in agro-processing, the processing of raw materials and products derived from agricultural activities, and packaging.
Mining is one of the key economic drivers in the Northern Cape. The province’s iron ore, manganese, zinc and copper mines open up possibilities in terms of the manufacturing and assembly of mining equipment, excellent to boost the country’s economy.
With Upington being situated about 300km north of Alkantpan, Armscor’s all-purpose ballistic test range, the SEZ also welcomes investors in the field of defence technology. Tests conducted at Alkantpan include artillery, rocket, tank gun, anti-tank missile, anti-aircraft gun, short-range missile and naval gun testing. The flat terrain, sparse vegetation, low rainfall and firing distances of up to 55km, make Alkantpan the ideal ammunition test range.
The Upington SEZ is perfectly located for astronomy-related logistics, assembly and warehousing. Upington is a mere 350km from Carnarvon, the Northern Cape town that will be home to a critical part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, the world’s largest radio telescope. The SKA project is investing heavily in the Northern Cape province and subsequently creating many jobs.
Many of the above SEZ investment areas call for high-value microtechnology production, especially in the solar, electronic, robotic, astronomy and programming fields, creating many investment and growth opportunities in the microtechnology industry.
Incubator for manufacturing and high-value microtechnology
The SEZ aims to be an incubator for manufacturing and high-value microtechnology in the Northern Cape. The SEZ will also be home to a number of warehouses where manufactured goods can be stored before being exported or distributed.