The second phase of a 90MW PV project has been completed in South Africa under the country’s renewable energy program.
PV-Tech reports South African Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson yesterday launched the second phase of the Solar Capital De Aar project in the Northern Cape province.
When combined with the 85MW first phase, which was completed in 2013, the project now features 175MW in capacity, making it Africa’s largest operational PV project. The operation is presently being showcased as the largest such operation in the southern hemisphere.
The installation falls under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). This program has been regarded for attracting significant foreign investment into the development of solar and other renewable projects in South Africa.
A press announcement from the South African government provided details:
“The Solar Capital De Aar 3 (PV) is a 75MW facility which will be able to power 49 500 South African homes every year, and with the introduction of lithium batteries, will soon transfer power at night when most needed. Amongst the positive socio-economic benefits for the community are the creation of 60 permanent jobs in maintenance and operations, with 8 700 non-permanent jobs created at the peak of construction. R11 million would have been invested by end of 2016 towards community upliftment programmes, and a total of R281 million earmarked for the 20 year lifespan of the project.”
Joemat-Pettersson discussed the efforts being made in sub-Saharan Africa to address growing demand for clean power via REIPPPP. “Many governments are now intensifying their efforts to tackle the numerous regulatory and political barriers that are holding back investment in domestic energy supply, and inadequate energy infrastructure puts a brake on urgently needed improvements in living standards,” she said.
Distribution and storage infrastructure have long been regarded as critical components in the extended development of viable renewable energy projects.
The De Aar project has been developed by Solar Capital, a subsidiary of South Africa-based company, Phelan Holdings. Company chairman Paschal Phelan said the project will eventually be fitted with lithium-ion battery storage.
Image: Cape Point, South Africa via Shutterstock