16 September 2013 – In the first half of September 2013, the 50 MW De Aar Solar Power installed its final solar panel. Over 167,000 solar panels have been installed on the project in the last five months, making it one of the few independent power producers (IPPs) of this scale, to reach this construction target in the Northern Cape area of South Africa. “We’ve installed exactly 167 580 solar panels by hand since April 2013,” Savva Antoniadis, project manager for De Aar Solar Power, says.
The sheer volume of these photovoltaic panels installed on this project site can be experienced by commuters travelling along the R48. Whilst large scale solar projects have increased at an exponential rate around the world, this is still very new and unique in South Africa. “No one on our team has done such a large scale project before. Considering that over 70% of our workforce are from the local De Aar community and have been trained on site, we have much to be proud of.”
During the peak construction period up to around 3,000 modules were installed per day. During the construction period up to 520 jobs were created, 73% of which were filled by personnel from the local De Aar community and during the twenty year operation period of the solar plant, the project will also create permanent jobs.
De Aar Solar Power is majority owned by Globeleq and its consortium partners, Mainstream Renewable Power South Africa, Thebe Investment Corporation, the Rebuna Litsasi Trust, Enzani Technologies and Usizo Engineering. Siemens is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project and will provide maintenance services for the first five years of operation. Construction is managed by Mainstream Construction. The project company is managed by Globeleq.