A US$142-million loan has been approved by the African Development Bank (AfDB) – the bank’s first loan to help finance a renewable energy project led by an independent power producer in South Africa.  The funds will assist with the construction of a $908-million, 100-megawatt (MW) concentrating solar power plant in the Northern Cape.

Global leader in solar thermal energy, Abengoa Solar was chosen to build the solar power plant during the second round of the South African government’s renewable energy programme for independent power producers.

The Spanish company have two additional solar plants under construction in the Northern Cape – a 100 MW parabolic trough solar plant, known as, KaXu Solar One, located near the town of Pofadder. The other, a 50 MW Solar tower plant is being built near Uptington.

Xina Solar one, the new power plant will be situated alongside KaXu Solar One and will together “shape the largest solar complex in Africa”. Xina Solar One will produce enough clean energy to provide 90 000 households with power and reduce its South Africa’s carbon emissions by 315 000 tons yearly.

Manuel Sanchez Ortega, Abengoa’s Chief Executive said the project portrayed “the maturity of solar-thermal technology, which can be efficiently stored and used when it is needed”.

Construction of the solar plant is set to begin this year, and will be jointly financed by the African Development bank, three of South Africa’s commercial banks and other development finance organisations.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) said it would “play an important role by providing much needed long-term finance, enforcing environmental and social standards and working to enhance the development impact of the Project”.

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