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1 November 2022

The Western Cape’s green economy

The Western Cape province is a world-class investment destination, offering businesses and investors prime locations, modern infrastructure, skilled workforce, low operational costs, natural resource abundance and excellent quality of life. 

In 2010, the provincial government first focused on the potential opportunities and challenges that private investment in renewable energy would provide. Since then, the scope has broadened to the wider green economy, and the province has attracted notable investments in the utility-scale renewable energy, small-scale embedded generation, energy efficiency, bioeconomy, waste, water and sustainable agriculture sectors. 

Why is the Western Cape a great green investment destination?

The province offers:

  • An emerging national renewable energy and cleantech hub, with a critical mass of leading companies already present. 
  • Local presence of major professional services firms and financiers. 
  • A supportive government that has made ease of doing business and the green economy key priorities.
  • A range of investment incentives in proposed Atlantis Greentech Special Economic Zone.
  • Four universities with comprehensive R&D capabilities and dedicated green economy skills programmes.

Major opportunity areas for investors (2015 – 2020) 


  • Solar irrigation: R2.9 bn market (SA)
  • Controlled environment agriculture: R600m potential market; 15% growth p.a. (WC)
  • Precision agriculture tech and services to improve water and energy efficiency
  • Sustainable agriculture: tools, analytics, machinery rentals, local manufacturing, financing
  • Conservation agriculture: R114m market, potential market R1.1 bn (SA)
  • Solar cooling for pack houses: R97.8 m market (WC)

Energy services (SA-wide)

  • 500 MWp market for solar PV generation installed capacity
  • Energy efficiency retrofitting of 100 000+ public buildings
  • Local manufacturing and assembly of solar PV system components; systems require compliance with local content levels

Utility scale solar and wind (SA-wide)

  • R200bn/US$20bn invested since 2011; ministerial determination for additional 6.3 GWp RE generation capacity, through REIPPPP
  • RE deployment in the rest of Africa, some programmes mirroring REIPPPP
  • Annual procurement of 1.1 GW: 670 MW of wind and 450 MW of solar PV
  • Local manufacturing through REIPPPP local content requirements


  • Municipal public private partnership projects of R1.3 bn
  • Robust and growing secondary material market (plastic, metals, e-waste, etc.)
  • Reuse and recycling of construction and demolition waste


  • Industrial water reuse, recycling and resource recovery: current WC market worth R600m
  • Water and energy opportunities for efficiency and use of renewables
  • Local resource development: brackish water desalination, ground, storm and grey water

Bioeconomy and resource efficiency

  • Food value retention through improved cold chain management and waste reduction: R600 m value retained (WC)
  • Industrial scale solar thermal: >R100 m market, R 3.7 bn potential market for agri-processing (SA)
  • Biogas for LPG replacement, heating and electricity generation: >R450 m market, R18 bn potential market, 395 MW potential generation (WC)

A growing green economy

This six-minute animation details the growth of the green economy between 2010 and 2016 across the sectors in which GreenCape works.