6 June 2013 – The end of 2013 will see the 7.0 MW RustMo1 solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation facility located at Buffelspoort, 22 kilometres outside the city of Rustenburg in the North West Province, come onto the grid. This is the first renewable energy project in the country’s North West Province. The project includes the installation of 11 inverters and 29,808 photovoltaic solar modules, with a step up transformer to connect to the 88 kV substation.
The farm will produce 244,643 MWh of energy over the 20 year contract period. The project forms part of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme.
Momentous Energy, a South African black-owned development company, which is the project’s lead member and sponsor, was awarded the RustMo1 Solar Farm project by the South African department of energy in in December 2011. As a preferred bidder, Momentous Energy finalised the financial closure process in November 2012. The RustMo1 solar farm obtained its licence for the operation of a generation licence from the national energy regulator of South Africa (Nersa) in April 2012.
The key criteria for selecting the Buffelspoort site for a solar photovoltaic plant was the proximity and availability of the Eskom grid connection and national grid infrastructure, and the favourable insolation levels with moderate temperatures in the area that is suitable for solar photovoltaic technologies. Rustenburg, which is part of a mining hub, has a high demand for power. The site chosen for the plant also had low agricultural and commercial value.
The shareholders of the project include the Momentous Foundation Community Trust, Momentous Solar Farm, Momentous Technologies and Evolution One Fund – a specialised clean energy and resource efficiency investor in southern Africa.
The current operations of RustMo1 are managed by Momentous Operations Services, which specialises in asset management services in the solar photovoltaic sector. The engineering contractor for the project is Juwi Holding AG, a German developer of renewable energy projects. Juwi has set up a local subsidiary in South Africa – Juwi Renewable Energies (Ltd.) Pty.