SAPVIA is governed by a board of nine commissioners and a Chairperson elected democratically on an annual basis by its members at the Annual General Meeting. From its rank the management board elects the Vice-Chairperson, Treasurer and Spokesperson.
SAPVIA’s secretariat comprises of the Membership Services Coordinator, Administrative Officer and Programme Manager.
Davin ChownSAPVIA Chairperson
Davin has been involved in the SA renewables sector since 2001. He is a Director of both Genesis Eco-Energy’s investment, as well as Pontus LeMarqueChown Infrastructure Group, a Trustee of the LeMarqueChown Energy Trust and a former Director of Mainstream South Africa.
Davin is current Chairperson of SAPVIA, has served on the Board of SAWEA and is currently a SAPVIA representative and founding member of the SA Renewable Energy Council (SAREC).
Davin has over 14 years management consulting (IBM and Accenture), project development, commercial, regulatory and policy development related experience in the government, resources and energy sectors. He holds a B.Comm (UP), DPLR (UNISA SBL), Masters Degree in Management (Wits University) and Sustainable Ecological Management (University of Pretoria). He has worked closely with various private sector, NGO, trade union and Government stakeholders in building the renewable energy (RE) sector in SA, and helping to create a policy, regulatory and investment environment favourable to the RE sector.
Wido SchnabelSAPVIA Vice-Chairperson
As Canadian Solar’s Head of Strategic Alliances & Business Development for the Middle East and Africa, Wido’s driving factor is his passion for the renewable energy sector - especially Solar PV. Born in Namibia, the country with the second best solar values, he is a real driver for the Solar PV industry.
As South Africa is the sunshine country blessed with the biggest resource of nature, he believes it should be used to its fullest potential. With his phrase “Africa will jump the Grid !” Wido plans to open a market for the real distributed generation solution to electrify Africa.
Wido’s other passion lies in education and skills development and he also serves on the board of the German International School in Cape Town and has experience with negotiations and lobby work at government level.
Wido has studied Business Administration and Computer Science in Munich, Germany and has worked in the IT industry for over twenty years, for companies such as Nixdorf Computers, Novell, Microsoft in Europe and Candor Technology in South Africa. In 2009 Wido moved into the renewable energy field with his own company Candor Renewables, doing Waste to Energy Solutions and biogas, and then moving on to Schott Solar. After Schott Solar, Wido moved onto his current position at Canadian Solar.
Christian CronjeSAPVIA Treasurer
Christian is juwi’s Finance Director for the EMEA region. He has more than 10 years’ international PV industry experience in South Africa, Europe and Australia. juwi has been successful as a developer, EPC and O&M company in the REIPP programme.
Christian therefore has a thorough understanding of the entire project life-cycle, from development to financing, construction and operation of utility scale projects in South Africa.
Prior to joining juwi, Christian was the Finance Director of Hanwha Q-Cells in Australia. Australia’s PV market is driven primarily by the residential sector and, following a number of policy changes over a short period of time, Christian experienced first-hand the impact that regulatory change can have on the industry.
From 2005 to 2010 Christian was the CFO of a Swiss PV company. He was responsible for raising more than USD 100 million in debt and equity financing for the (then) start-up company to build a new manufacturing facility for thin-film modules. During this period he gained valuable experience in managing the challenges inherent in PV module production - both internally to the company and the external challenges of an industry exposed to global risks. These include changes to national incentive schemes and worldwide production capacity fluctuations.
Christian started his career at Ernst & Young’s Corporate Finance Division in Cape Town. He is a Chartered Accountant (SA) with a Masters Degree in Finance from Cambridge University.
Boitumelo KiepileSAPVIA Management Committee Member
Boitumelo Kiepile has 10 years’ experience in regulatory and policy matters in the financial and banking industry, telecommunications and energy sectors. He currently holds the position of Head of Regulatory Affairs at Enel Green Power RSA.
He currently holds the position of Head of Regulatory Affairs at Enel Green Power RSA, prior to his current position he was a founding member of IMPETUS Regulatory Consultants. He has worked in the Electricity Pricing and Tariffs Department at NERSA responsible for economic and tariff analysis. He has drafted regulatory guidelines including the Minimum Information Requirements for Tariff Applications (MIRTA) in the Electricity Supply Industry and cost of supply framework. Boitumelo has developed the inaugural Strategic Plan for the Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority and presented courses in economic regulation, tariff design, and cost-reflective tariffs to the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa Training for Regulatory Practitioners. He currently serves as Chairperson of the Policy & Markets Working Group of the South African Wind Energy Association.
Frank SpencerSAPVIA Management Committee Member
Frank Spencer heads up the solar PV solutions business development for CONCO Energy Solutions. He has been active in the South African PV space since 2001, and been involved with SAPVIA since its inception. Frank has a Master’s Degree in Power Electronics and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy relating to Sustainable Development.
Rainer NowakSAPVIA Legal Representative
Dr. Rainer Nowak is a director in the Corporate Practice Group at Webber Wentzel Attorneys. He has been a member of the Management Board of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association since 2011.
Having completed his studies at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, he commenced his professional career at the Frankfurt offices of Clifford Chance. He relocated to South Africa in 2001, taking up a position in the corporate department of another prominent South African law firm, before joining Webber Wentzel in 2006.
Specialising in foreign investment into South Africa, Dr. Nowak's practice has included a strong focus on the renewable energy sector in South Africa almost since its inception. He has advised a range of clients in renewable energy projects in South Africa, Namibia and Kenya. His clients include prominent international project developers, sponsors, financiers, contractors and component suppliers. Dr. Nowak has closely followed, and advised on, the current IPP Procurement Programme, and is an expert on the framework applicable to renewable energy projects in South Africa.
Jo DeanSAPVIA Management Committee Member
Jo Dean (B Eng. Mech Plant Process, B Eng. Env & Sus, Carbon Reduction Specialist). Trained and qualified in both SA and Illinois, her roots remain African.
18 years’ experience in design and construction of process and flow control plants in the Mining Sector. In 2000, inspired by Attenborough; Bloomberg; Ban Ki Moon and, Figueres and her Intrinsic need to make a difference to the world she joined the Chamber of Commerce overseeing government relationships and LED development, while furthering her studies in environmental engineering, specialising in waste, water and energy disciplines coupled to Carbon Reduction Project Development (Illinois and GHG Protocol). Armed with “practical knowledge” the once “wannabe activist” evolved into a strategist in developing carbon reduction projects in the waste and energy spaces She is currently driving 518 RE MW project development mainly in South Africa and the SADC.
Her belief: “the rationale underlying the nascent endeavour of a green economy for developing countries, is that the market SHOULD become the vehicle for tackling the environmental crises of climate change, and that Africa can and will make a quantum leap as opposed to the “trapped” Annex 1 world powers that cannot due to their historical industrial choices made.”
Kinesh ChettySAPVIA Spokesperson
Kinesh Chetty is the Regional Sales Director of IBC Solar South Africa Pty Ltd - and has been in the renewable energy space since 2007.
He fell in love with solar Photovoltaic technology about 5 years ago and has since made it a mission to spread this awesome technology into every sunny corner of Southern Africa.
In his opinion to keep the rooftop PV industry strong we need 1) quality materials 2) quality assurance in the application of PV technology.
To this end, Kinesh has been involved in the professional training of more than 1500 solar PV installers from all over Africa at the maxx solar academy - where he still holds an active role as lead trainer and facilitator.
Post training, IBC Solar sales team supports new and established EPC and installer companies with design and supply of the full solar solution delivered to site (anywhere in Africa).
Excited to contribute to the continued sustainable growth of the PV industry, Kinesh says "... right now is great time for PV in Africa, the industry is young and there is a lot of excitement and anticipation around the promise of clean, affordable and reliable energy in a part of the world that has traditionally faced energy poverty challenges."
Role: Administrative Officer
Role: Programme Manager