Solar Park
French global electric utility firm, ENGIE announces the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Eskom for its Kathu solar park project in South Africa.

Earlier this week, ENGIE stated that it has engaged a 20-year PPA with South Africa’s public utility, Eskom, that will enable for the construction of the 100MW greenfield Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) solar park to commence in Q2 2018 in the Northern Cape Province.

The Kathu solar park project uses a parabolic trough technology, equipped with a molten salt storage system that allows 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage, thus limiting the intermittent nature of solar energy, the company stated.

Kathu Solar Park

Bruno Bensasson, CEO of the ENGIE Africa Business Unit, commented: “This is an important milestone for our first concentrated solar power project in the ENGIE Group. The Kathu Solar Park project supports South Africa’s strategy of increasing the contribution of renewable power and also underlines our commitment to be a key partner in achieving sustainable energy generation in Africa.”

The Kathu Solar Park was awarded preferred bidder in the third round of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), an initiative driven by the department of energy.

Kathu Solar project to save 6m tones of CO2

It is estimated that the Kathu Solar project will save six million tones of CO2 over 20 years, and will also benefit communities of the John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality through various economic development projects, creating about 1,200 jobs.

This project, led by ENGIE, is owned by a consortium, including the SIOC Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, advisory services company Lereko Metier and the South African Public Investment Corporation (PIC).

According to the company, Kathu Solar Park will be backed by a mix of debt and equity. “The debt is funded from a club of South African banks, namely Rand Merchant Bank, Nedbank, ABSA, Investec and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.”