SolarReserve has announced that two 75 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) projects have completed construction and are fully operational. These are supplying Eskom’s grid with renewable energy.

The Lesedi and Letsatsi projects, totalling 150 MW-DC of installed capacity, combined generated 2.3 million man-hours during construction. As mandated under the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme, the projects set aside a percentage of total project revenues for enterprise and socio-economic development, which will be invested for the benefit of the local communities.

Among the largest project finance transactions ever completed in South Africa and largest renewable energy projects in continental Africa, the Lesedi and Letsatsi projects, respectively located in the Northern Cape and the Free State, were selected by the South Africa Department of Energy (DoE) in the first round of bids under the REIPPP programme. The projects have each executed 20-year power purchase agreements with Eskom.

SolarReserve’s CEO Kevin Smith says, “We look forward to continuing this positive momentum through collaboration on further projects, including concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) plants, featuring SolarReserve’s CSP technology with integrated energy storage.”

The projects were developed and financed by a consortium including SolarReserve, the IDEAS Managed Fund (managed by Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa), the Kensani Group (an experienced empowerment investment player in South Africa), GCL Poly Energy Holdings and Intikon Energy. Rand Merchant Bank, the investment banking arm of FirstRand Bank Limited, acted as Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner for the projects’ debt funding requirements.

SolarReserve, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, is a developer of large-scale solar energy projects and advanced solar thermal technology with activities worldwide and more than US$1.8 billion of projects in construction and operation. SolarReserve has commercialised the world’s leading solar thermal energy storage technology utilising molten salt in a power tower configuration. SolarReserve has assembled a 5,000 MW worldwide development portfolio of large-scale solar projects, including some featuring advanced solar thermal technology (CSP) and others utilising photovoltaic (PV) technology.

SolarReserve’s 110 MW Crescent Dunes solar energy plant located in Nevada is the first utility-scale facility in the world to feature advanced molten salt power tower energy storage capabilities. The project, currently in the commissioning phase, will generate more than 500,000 megawatt-hours per year and includes 10 hours of full-load energy storage. This annual output is more than twice that of other technologies per MW of capacity, such as photovoltaics (PV) or direct steam solar thermal. Nevada’s largest electric utility, NV Energy, will purchase 100 per cent of the electricity generated under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

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