Project consortium led by US based solar developer, SolarReserve has been awarded preferred bidder status by the South African Department of Energy for the construction of  100MW Concentrating Solar Power Project in Postmasburg, in the country’s Northern Cape Province.

The ‘Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project’ as it is known, features SolarReserve’s ‘leading molten salt energy storage technology in tower configuration’ – supporting South Africa’s demand for energy in peak periods, day and night.

The solar thermal plant has a 12 hour full-load energy storage capacity and is expected to provide power to over 20 000 households. According to a company press release, the project is fuelled solely by the sun, without any back up fuel needed; and it’s dry cooling feature of the power generation cycle minimises water use.

SolarReserve’s CEO, Kevin Smith commented: ‘Due to the fully integrated thermal energy storage, the plant will provide dispatchable power on-demand, just like conventional coal, oil, nuclear or natural gas-fired power plants, but without the harmful emissions or hazardous materials and without any fuel cost. In addition, the project’s delivered electricity price is the lowest of any Concentrating Solar Power project in the country to date.’

SolarReserve’s project partner – ACWA, Saudi Arabia based plant developer, investor co-owner and operator is committed to delivering power at the lowest price possible.

ACWA Power President and CEO, Paddy Padmanathan said: ‘The Redstone Solar Project is another successful bid where we challenged ourselves to deliver the lowest tariff to date in the REIPPP programme for electricity generated wholly with solar power but dispatchable reliably both at day and night; again demonstrating ACWA Power’s commitment to reliably deliver electricity at the lowest possible cost.’

The Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project, situated adjacent to the 75MW Lesedi and 96MW Jasper photovoltaic solar power projects, will generate a collective 271MW.