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First Solar thermal power plant for SA

On Monday, South African government ministers joined project developers and financiers to officially open South Africa’s first solar thermal electric power plant near Pofadder in the Northern Cape.

The Department of Energy commissioned KaXu Solar One  commercial operation with the objective of meeting the country’s energy needs in a sustainable and reliable manner.

The 20-year power purchase agreement was signed by project developers and financiers including Spanish technology solutions provider Abengoa, state-owned financier the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) as well as the KaXu community Trust.

The innovative design and technology includes a storage system that enables the production of 100MW for 2.5 hours.

The project will raise an estimated $891 million (ZAR10 billion) through direct and indirect investment.khi solar 1

IDC chief executive, Geoffrey Qhena, has said: “The project is based on a strong public-private sector partnership and forms part of our [IDC] efforts to support Government’s initiatives to introduce alternative sources of energy into the country’s energy mix as contemplated in the integrated resources plan.”

Northern Cape power projects

Abengoa is currently in the process of constructing two additional power plants in the Northern province. Khi Solar One is a 50MW solar power plant using tower technology and Xina Solar One is a 100MW parabolic trough plant.

(Pic Credits: abeinsa, constructionreview)

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.