According to a company statement, the project marks the IPPs’ first large-scale solar project and first thin film photovoltaic (PV) panels in the country.
The Tom Burke solar power plant, which has an installed capacity of 66MW, reached early generation and commercial operation date (COD) during August 2016, the company noted.
Tom Burke solar power plant in strategic position
The site where the solar plant is located was declared a National Key Point in line with South Africa’s National Key Point Act (1980).
Furthermore, it is in acknowledgement of its strategic importance of feeding 122GWh per year into the national grid, while providing electricity supply to nine villages in the Lephalale region.
The company statement highlighted that Tom Burke occupying 202 hectares and can avoid the emission of over 1,11000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
After reaching COD the plant moved into its operations and maintenance (O&M) phase, producing an average energy output of 350 to 360MWh per day, enough to power approximately 200,000 rural households daily.
During the O&M phase, the solar plant was closely monitored via an on-site control room, as well as the company’s 24-hour centralised control room in Sandton, north of Johannesburg. Read more…
The monitoring allows for an analysis of the solar power plant’s performance at inverter level, allowing the plant’s staff to immediately address potential issues and maximise efficiencies wherever possible.
The solar panels are also cleaned twice yearly to maximise output.
Country manager in South Africa, William Price, said: “South Africa is a resource-rich country and we are proud to provide an increasingly integrated offering and a strong renewable energy generation base.
“We firmly believe that by taking advantage of renewable energies we can improve electrification in Southern Africa and incorporate current and available technologies to bridge the gap between supply and demand for energy.”
Featured image: Enel