South Africa's Kathu Solar Park, constructed by SENER and ACCIONA Industrial came into commercial operation on 30 January 2019.
With an installed capacity of 100MW, it is expected to supply clean energy to 179,000 homes in the Northern Cape Province and prevent the emission of six million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the next 20 years.
Regional managing director of SENER Southern Africa, Siyabonga Mbanjwa, commented: “With the completion of Kathu Solar Park, we show our firm commitment to the development of a renewable energy industry in South Africa. Concentrated Solar Power, as a viable alternative to traditional baseload sources of energy, has a demonstrated alignment with South Africa’s national agenda of achieving inclusive growth that includes job-creating, manufacturing, construction and rural development. Reaching commercial operation at Kathu means that the energy supply to the local community is secure and demand is well managed while contributing to mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Roberto Felipe, director of operations and production at ACCIONA Industrial, also commented: "At ACCIONA we are committed to renewable energies, and in particular to CSP energy. The execution of the Kathu Solar Park plant has been a success for performance objectives thanks to the excellent team involved in the project, and also for the impact it has had on the economy and population in the Province of the Northern Cape in South Africa.
"This has been made possible thanks to the excellent relationship with local administrations and businesses, and with Kathu Solar Park, our client. In addition, this plant becomes our second project in the region along with the Bokpoort solar thermal plant, which consolidates us in the renewable energy market in the country."
Kathu Solar Park contributes to economic development
The project is part of the South African government’s Integrated Resource Programme (IRP) 2010. This plan aims to increase the country’s power generation capacity to 86.8GW by 2030, of which 24% will be renewable.
Kathu Solar Park was one of the projects awarded during bid window 3.5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) by the Department of Energy. Read more: 100MW Karoshoek Solar One project goes live
Construction began in May 2016 and has created 1,700 jobs in peak June 2018.
The Kathu solar thermal power project has also contributed to the economic development of the region by contracting local suppliers and through the KSP Social Economic Development programme and the Kelebogile Foundation, thereby significantly boosting community development in the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality.