17 September 2010 – South Africa will test investor appetite for a solar park that could generate 5000 megawatts of power, according to the government.

 Initial projections showed the park would cost about R150-billion and construction could start in 2012, depending on investor response, government spokesman Themba Maseko told journalists yesterday.

A feasibility study by the department of energy and the US-based Clinton Climate Initiative, had identified Upington in the semi-arid Northern Cape as a potential site.

The country is increasingly turning to renewable energy sources to help plug the chronic power shortage and decrease dependence on coal-fired power stations that currently provide most of the country’s electricity.

The results of the feasibility study will be presented to an investors’ conference to test support for the initiative, Maseko said. The Cabinet endorsed a conference to be held later this year.

Eskom, one of Africa’s worst polluters, wants to move into renewable sources and to tap cleaner coal technologies to reduce its carbon footprint.