16 October 2013 – Raubex Infra has been awarded two contracts by Norwegian solar energy provider, Scatec Solar to provide civils and electrical work for its two new photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants. The contracts are being implemented by Raubex Infra’s dedicated power and energy infrastructure projects unit.

The two plants, Linde near Hanover in the Northern Cape and Dreunberg near Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape, will generate a combined 115 MW under the second round of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme. This translates to more than 225 million kilowatt hours a year — enough to power 53,000 households — that will be fed into the local grid and sold through a 20 year power purchase agreement with Eskom.

“We were very satisfied when we learnt we were awarded both projects,” Charles Deacon, business unit manager − energy at Raubex Infra, says. “The competition was tough, but I believe that we attracted these contracts based on a combination of pricing and capability, as we’ve built a solid track record of successfully completed energy projects.

Work on the two projects is now underway, with the plants scheduled for completion mid-2014. As the sub-EPC contractor, Raubex Infra is responsible for civil works including establishing borrow pits for gravel, bulk earthworks, fencing, security systems, electrification and monitoring of intrusion protection, civil excavation of electrical cable trenches, electrical cabling and connections as well as the installation of a medium voltage cabling system from the transformer stations to the substation that feeds to the Eskom network.

Raubex Infra is also responsible for overall site management which includes overseeing the training and logistics for labourers to and from site for Raubex and the other contractors as well as provision of ablutions and water and construction of a control room building and facilities.

“This is the first time we’re involved in the installation of solar tracker systems,” Deacon says. “Most South African PV plants make use of fixed tilt systems, in which solar panels are mounted at a fixed inclination calculated to provide the optimum annual output profile. However Scatec Solar has specified the more efficient tracker systems for the Linde and Dreunberg plants, optimising the system and allowing a more efficient use of the modules.

“Another element of the work that is new to us is the technique for installation of the cables, an innovative solution facilitating quicker and easier maintenance. This solution also simplifies the installation of additional cables in the future, if the need arises.”

Scatec Solar has connected its 75 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) Kalkbult plant, located in the Northern Cape region, to the regional grid, three months ahead of schedule. This makes the power plant the first REIPPPP project to be grid-connected and operational in South Africa.

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