by Melody Barber

Steel for solar

Robor is the leading local steel solutions provider for solar projects

Stephen Leatherbarrow, GM.jpg

The Letsatsi  and the Lesedi Projects are located in the Bloemfontein and Postmasburg vicinities. The combined cost of the two solar PV developments is approximately ZAR5.15bn (US$586mn) - making these two of the largest PV renewable energy projects in Africa.

The projects were two of 18 PV solar projects selected by the South African Department of Energy (DOE) and construction will be undertaken by a consortium led by one of the largest international contractors, ACS Cobra, along with Madrid-based Gransolar and South Africa's Kensani Energy EPC.

“Robor is an integrated steel solutions supplier” says Stephen Leatherbarrow, General Manager of Robor’s Renewable Energy market segment. “We are able to manufacture steel tube and open sections to suit the designs of our project partners and furthermore offer them value added solutions such as laser cutting,  robotic welding and hot dip galvanizing – a true one stop steel solution” Leatherbarrow continued.

The REIPPP programme aims to reduce the impact of electricity generation on the environment and diversify the country’s energy mix by encouraging independent power producers to develop the country’s abundant renewable-energy resources. 

“Robor had the strategic foresight to set-up a renewable energy department more than a year ago” says Indiran Gounden, Managing Director of Robor’s Structural Solutions Division. Senior Robor Executives including the CEO and Chairman visited solar farms and steel component manufacturers in Spain and Germany to understand how the Robor Group could position itself to effectively support the solar industry. 

“This enabled us to establish relationships with foreign and local bidders for the supply of steel components, galvanising, tubing and piping for Photovoltaic and Concentrated Solar Power systems” Gounden continued. Through research and development and numerous conducted trials, Robor  ensured that clients’ stringent global standards were adapted to local specifications and conditions.

As an integrated steel solutions supplier, the ability to provide various guarantees and ensure relatively short delivery lead times, positioned Robor as a front runner for steel supply. “It’s vital for the success of our projects in phase 1 to partner with a local company that has a track record and financial stability” a representative of Cobra Gransolar said.

 “When the tenders were allotted the South African government placed emphasis on localisation, BBBEE, community upliftment and job creation. We believe the Robor Group to be our perfect partner to complete these two projects within 18 months” he ended.

The additional mega watts and the environmental benefit of renewable energy can only benefit South Africa going forward. “It is vital for South Africa that electricity is uninterrupted and resources are sustainable. South African companies must compete in the global arena and are constantly challenged with high input costs and stringent environmental practices” Gounden concluded.

Further bidding rounds are expected to take place roughly six months apart from 2013 onwards to allocate the total 3725MW. In line with the country’s long-term power plan, South Africa aims to secure a total of 17 800 megawatts of renewable energy or 42% of South Africa’s new generation capacity by 2030. 


Indiran Gouden, Managing Director Robor Structural Solutions

Stephen Leatherbarrow, General Manager Robor Renewable Energy


For Enquiries:

Contact Tel 011 971 1600





Tel l +27(0)11 971 1600 | Cell l +27(0)84 705 1181 | Email l | Fax l  +27(0)11 392 4435 |

Indiran Gouden, MD Robor Structural Solutions.jpg
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Issue 39