Two more solar plants come on stream in South Africa

2 June 2014

US company SolarReserve announced last week that two 75-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) projects had completed construction and were fully operational and providing renewable energy to South Africa’s electricity grid.

The Lesedi and Letsatsi plants, situated in the Northern Cape and Free State provinces respectively, were chosen by South Africa’s Department of Energy (DOE) in the first round its renewable energy programme for private producers, which aims to add 3 725 MW of wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power to the country’s energy mix.

SolarReserve said the two plants were together capable of powering more than 130 000 homes, and had each signed 20-year power purchase agreements with state electricity company Eskom.

According to the company, the two projects had provided a significant economic boost for their surrounding communities, with 2.3-million man-hours of work generated during construction, and a percentage of total project revenues having been set aside for local enterprise and socio-economic development.

“The social and economic benefits that these projects are imparting in South Africa today demonstrate the positive results of close cooperation between the US and South African governments along with private companies in each nation,” SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing this positive momentum through collaboration on further projects.”

The projects were developed and financed by a consortium including SolarReserve, the IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa), empowerment investment company Kensani Group, GCL Poly Energy Holdings and Intikon Energy.

SAinfo reporter