In South Africa, US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has approved $400 million (ZAR5 billion) debt financing for a 100MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project, which will be located in the Northern Cape Province.
The joint project was awarded to developers, SolarReserve and ACWA Power, under the third round of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), Clean Technica reported.
Redstone CSP project
The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project, which will be located in Postmasburg in the Northern Cape Province, is expected to generate 480,000MWh of power annually, Clean Technica reported.
Tecnicas Reunidas and TSK Group will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction of the project.
With commercial operations expected to commence in 2018, the power project will also include a molten salt-based thermal storage facility with storage capacity of 12 hours.
An additional seven CSP projects have been awarded under the first four rounds of the REIPPP programme, with a combined generation capacity of 600MW.
Driving CSP in S.Africa
Stellenbosch University’s Helio100 prototype will be put into action as soon as it reaches completion in October. The system has been designed to generate affordable CSP electricity using a small-scale array of mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy project.
ESI reported in August that the Helio100 CSP technology includes a field of mirrors called heliostats. These mirrors are generally large with a huge central base set in concrete. Situated on the ground the heliostats track the sun and concentrate its rays on to a central point, which heats up. The heat is converted into electricity.
Helio100 is a pilot project with over 100 heliostats of 2.2 sq meters each, generating 150 kW in total – enough to power about 10 average households.
According to Paul Gauché, a former Intel strategy planner and founding director of the Solar Thermal Research Group at Stellenbosch University, the array is already cheaper than using diesel, the go-to fuel for most companies and businesses during regular power outages in the country.
The official unveiling of the project is on 17 October 2015.