Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development (RECORD)

Renewable Energy Centre of Research and Development (RECORD)

South Africa is demonstrating its commitment to a more sustainable future growth path by supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, together with skills development and job creation through fostering a green economy. South Africa is among the highest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world, currently ranked 12th in terms of top emitters per capita, since more than 75% of primary our energy requirement is derived from fossil fuels. The country responded to the urgent need to reduce fossil fuel dependency, diversify the energy mix and supply and reducing the country's carbon footprint with a supportive policy and legislative framework to exploit the excellent renewable energy resources, especially wind and solar. South Africa's renewable energy sector experienced explosive growth in the past few years with investment of more than $5.5 billion in 2012, up from $30 million in 2011- representing an impressive increase of 20,500%. The rapid investment growth over the past two years made South Africa the ninth-leading destination for clean energy investment among the Group of 20 (G-20) of the world's developed and emerging economies – this after occupying the last spot in 2011. South Africa's leading position has been secured through a supportive policy environment, coupled with a secure investment framework established by the Department of Energy's (DoE) Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme or REI4P.

The contribution of a green economy to economic growth and job creation is furthermore promising and South Africa is preparing to play a leading role in renewable energy deployment.
SA has abundant natural resources that can be harnessed for energy production:

  • one of the best solar regimes in the world, measured at 4.5 to 6.6 kWh/m2 , one of the most abundant renewable energy resources in the country;
  • a reasonable wind energy resource (an average of 8 m/s measured at 80 m) is available in geographically dispersed locations, allowing for security of supply;
  • biomass for energy use is restricted due to water availability in South Africa, but energy from waste, utilising the estimated 60 – 70 million m3 of waste generated annually, is more readily available and exploitable;
  • despite limited water availability, 1400 MW of pump storage is currently utilised by Eskom from two sites in South Africa, while micro-hydro applications at specific sites offer further opportunities; and
  • a world-class wave energy (10 – 50 kW/m crest length) and ocean current (70 – 85 Sv peaking at 2 m/s) resource, is potentially exploitable upon the availability of commercially viable technologies.


The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) was established by the National Energy Act, 2008 (No 34) as a successor to the previous South African National Energy Research Institute (Pty) Ltd (SANERI) and the National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA) (a division of CEF (Pty) Ltd). SANEDI is a Schedule 3A Public Entity as of 31 December 2010, operationalised on 1 April 2011. Its mandate is to serve as a catalyst for sustainable energy innovation, transformation and technology diffusion in support of South Africa's sustainable development. RECORD supports the mandate of SANEDI within the Clean Energy Solutions portfolio.

RECORD Mission

To be recognised as the foremost institution for renewable energy research coordination and collaboration in SA.


To facilitate renewable energy research coordination, collaboration and dissemination of national and international renewable energy knowledge contributing towards a sustainable low carbon energy future.

RECORD Core Activities  

Co-ordinate renewable energy research in South Africa

In line with the legislative mandate of SANEDI, RECORD provides limited funding for applied renewable energy research conducted at tertiary institutions in South Africa. To ensure efficient use of limited research funds, RECORD coordinates renewable energy research according to national priorities and stakeholder objectives.

Facilitate renewable energy research collaboration

RECORD aims to foster collaboration between renewable energy research and development stakeholders having common goals. This is achieved through collaborative funding and sharing of resources to ensure that applied research is not duplicated within the same field. RECORD strongly supports the formation of theme-focussed research clusters where trans-institutional cooperation, sustaining broad focus areas in renewable energy topics, is addressed.

Contribute to renewable energy skills development

RECORD recognises the importance of skills development to service the growing renewable energy sector in South Africa and cooperates with a variety of actors who provide training at different levels.

Targeted awareness creation regarding renewable energy in South Africa

RECORD strives through various means to create both local and international awareness regarding renewable energy and South Africa's policies pertaining to this. Information is readily available on the RECORD website concerning many areas of renewable energy research and development. Additionally, should RECORD feel that stakeholders require specific information on a renewable energy topic, it is able to commission studies in these target areas. RECORD facilitates mutually beneficial interaction and information exchange between stakeholders in the renewable energy sector in South Africa, as well as at an international level. Through its website, RECORD endeavours to share studies, research results and other important documents in the public domain in order to support business development in the sector.

RECORD Partners

Against the background of renewable energy development in South Africa, the Governments of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Germany agreed in 2010 to implement an energy and climate programme via the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The South African-German Energy (SAGEN) programme aims to promote investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency and thus supports the development of a sustainable energy sector in South Africa. Under the auspices of SAGEN, GIZ is cooperating with SANEDI and RECORD to achieve mutually agreed goals.