Concentrating solar
plant to be built near
Upington in the
Northern Cape
 
Pretoria, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 15 November 2011 – South African national power utility Eskom Holdings has signed a loan for about R1.9 billion which will be used to finance construction of South Africa’s largest solar energy and wind power generation projects.

Signing the guarantee here, finance minister Pravin Gordhan said South Africa had a huge comparative advantage when it came to solar power generation. Public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba said the loan was an indication that there was great investor confidence in South Africa.

The 40-year loan signed here will help finance the building of a 100megawatt (MW) solar power plant near Upington, as well as the 100MW Sere wind farm near Vredendal, in the Western Cape.

The 200MW capacity of the two power plants could generate enough electricity to power 200 000 homes.

Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said the wind farm would be completed by 2013 and the solar farm a year later in 2014.

Repayments on the loan will start in 10 years’ time. It is expected to be paid off over the following 30 years at an interest rate of 0.25% annually on the amounts dispersed. The loan was approved by the World Bank on 27 October and comes from its clean technology fund.

Eskom has already received more than R700 million from the African Development Bank for the two projects. The loans are being guaranteed by the South African government.

It is hoped that each project will reduce South Africa’s carbon emissions by 5Mtpa.