The Sterling and Wilson solar PV power plant forms part of government’s Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
According to a company statement, “the commissioning of the project is also a quintessential symbol of partnership between India and South Africa in the solar energy sector, marking the beginning of an association between BRICS countries in upcoming technology.”
The solar plant is predicted to be operational for 20 years generating about 183,000MWh of power during its first year. The generated electricity is to be sold to the country's state-owned power utility, Eskom.
Among the major challenges that the company encountered while planning the project was to find a solution to reduce power generation losses while transmitting the power to the substation situated at a distance, the company acknowledged in the statement. However, the new solar power plant “is engineered to work at a high performance ratio of around 80%.”
Sterling and Wilson meets the deadline
Sterling and Wilson’s scope of work for this project also included turnkey engineering, procurement and construction of a 132kV substation and 15km transmission line. The EPC contract included refurbishment of the last 5km transmission line, the company statement added.
The company’s president, Bikesh Ogra, commented: “…Sterling and Wilson was selected ahead of well entrenched international solar EPC’s to partner with Solar Capital De Aar 3 (Pty) Ltd in constructing this 90MWp solar photovoltaic power plant for them..."
He added: “We have delivered…a technologically advanced and optimised solar power plant within the tight timeframe of 10 months.”
The company highlighted that more than 90% of the unskilled employees were employed from the local community during the installation of the solar power plant.