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South Africa’s Northern Cape province is celebrating the successful connection of an 86MW solar PV project in the town of Prieska

According to project developer Sonnedix, this plant is not only one of the largest in Southern Africa, measuring 125 hectares, but it has played a significant role in local Socio-Economic Development (SED).

Solar PV attracts long term investment

According to project developer CEO Andreas Mustad: “The construction phase is complete, yet this is a long term project.

“We will be operating this plant for a minimum of 20 years with a local team, the local community, our local partners, and bring continued economic development and opportunities for the local community and businesses in the region.”

Mustad together with South African developers Mulilo, in the presence of Prieska Mayor Howard Tshume, inaugurated the plant on Monday.

The opening was honoured with the presence of all the project partners (Mulilo, Women in Power, Nedbank and Standard Bank – Facility agent, Fieldstone, Norton Rose Fulbright and Arup – Advisors) and all of the companies involved in the plant construction process, including the EPC Contractor juwi, their main sub-contractors and suppliers (PiA Solar, ABB, BYD).

Driving development

Juwi MD Greg Austin said in a statement that he remains confident that the successful completion of construction, on time and within budget, will continue the operations and maintenance phase.

Situated 50km South-West of Prieska, the PV farm is capable of powering 40,000 homes through the Eskom grid and employed 1720 people through the 14-month construction period, of which 911 came from local communities.

“The project required over 1.6 million man-hours to build, out of which over half were locally sourced,” said Johnny Cullum, CEO of Mulilo.

“It has injected much-needed revenue into local businesses and also created additional indirect employment in the region,” Cullum added.