The Board of Directors of the US Government’s development finance institution, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has approved up to $250 million for the agency’s first solar power project in South Africa.
The 60-megawatt plant located in Boshoff in South Africa’s Free State province will help push the country beyond a dependency on coal and displace approximately 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the first year of operation.
The project is a response to the country’s new Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPP) initiative which aims to increase investment in renewable energy production, especially solar power. The REIPP aims to implement 3725 MW of renewable energy by 2016.
As a result, OPIC has teamed up with two local investors and two US companies — MEMC Electronic Materials and its subsidiary SunEdison, who will be constructing and operating the solar photovoltaic plant in Boshoff. All electricity generated a the new plant will be sold to the national grid through a power-purchase agreement.
“South Africa’s ambitious and impressive renewable energy program has established the country as a leader in the field,” said OPIC President Elizabeth Littlefield.
“We’re pleased to work with an experienced developer such SunEdison to deliver so many developmental benefits for South Africa, from the reduction of pollution and displacement of GHG emissions to the creation of local jobs and the realization of the country’s BEE program goals.”